The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics are on the horizon and many Canadian hockey fans are looking forward to seeing NHL players once again compete for a medal. As you probably know, the NHL didn’t allow its players to compete in 2018. Prior to that, Team Canada had won Olympic gold in three of the previous four Winter Olympic tournaments.
Canada’s roster isn’t expected to be announced until January, but we know that Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, and Alex Pietrangelo have already made the roster. While it’s nothing more than speculation, we should also expect to see names like Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon, Patrice Bergeron, and Ryan O’Reilly on the list. One of the toughest decisions management will need to make is which goalies to roll with. Let’s take a look at the top-5 candidates.
28-year-old Jordan Binnington has enjoyed a lot of success since taking over the goaltending duties in St. Louis. While his numbers have tailed off a bit from his breakout 2018-19 season, those numbers remain solid. In 134 appearances, Binnington has a .916 save percentage and a tidy 2.42 GAA. After playing 9 games in the 2021-22 season, Binnington has a .928 SV% and a 2.44 GAA.
At 36 years of age, this is likely Marc-Andre Fleury’s last shot at Olympic glory. His resume speaks for itself. The veteran backstop has appeared in 691 games posting a .912 SV% and a 2.58 GAA. He had an excellent 2020-21 season posting a career-best .928 save percent and a sparkling 1.98 GAA. While he hasn’t had a great start to the 2021-22 season, don’t be surprised if he turns it around. He should at least make the roster.
Saskatoon’s Darcy Kuemper is one of those guys who you may not think of as an Olympic starter, but the 31-year-old Avalanche backstop at least deserves consideration. Perhaps the brightest red flag would be that he hasn’t really put in as much time between the pipes over the past few years as other prospects on this list. He was good last year, but far from great. He’ll need to pick it up a bit if he wants to make the cut.
Having just turned 23, Carter Hart appears to have a long career ahead of him. He was a pleasant surprise over his rookie and sophomore seasons, but he took a few steps back last year compiling a shaky .877 save percentage and a 3.67 GAA in 27 games. He’s been much better to start the 2021-22 season. Nevertheless, he is one candidate that is on the outside looking in.
It’s safe to say that Carey Price would be a lock to make Team Canada’s roster if circumstances were different. The 34-year-old netminder has yet to play this season. While he was expected to start the year after undergoing knee surgery, he entered the player assistance program before the season commenced. He has now returned, but it’s going to take some time for him to get into game shape. Canadian hockey fans should hope that he bounces back into his 2020-21 playoff form.