Star Anaheim Ducks centre Ryan Getzlaf sprained his left ankle in last night’s game between the Ducks and Los Angeles Kings, and from the sounds of it this could be a very severe injury. From the Los Angeles Times:

Ryan Getzlaf, the team’s leading scorer, sprained his left ankle during the second period and left the arena wearing a boot and on crutches. X-rays were negative, but an MRI exam is scheduled for Tuesday.

Canada plays its first Olympic game on February 16, and if Getzlaf is unable to play there are a number of players who could be elevated to his spot on the roster.

Jeff Carter of the Philadelphia Flyers just missed the initial roster, and seems to be the consensus pick as a replacement forward. He was one of a group of players mentioned in an interview by Kevin Lowe as final cuts, and he certainly hasn’t hurt himself with his production since the Olympic team was selected.

Other forwards mentioned by Lowe include Shane Doan, Ryan Smyth, and Mike Fisher. I’d also like to think that Martin St. Louis of the Lightning and Brad Richards of the Stars are somewhere in the mix (EDIT TO ADD: I was correctly chastised in the comments for failing to include Steven Stamkos, who I have since added). What follows is a look at the production of that group of forwards in 2010, ranked by points per game.

Player GP G A PTS +/- PTS/GM
Steven Stamkos 17 11 13 24 5 1.412
Martin St. Louis 17 10 9 19 4 1.118
Shane Doan 18 7 12 19 -1 1.056
Jeff Carter 18 9 7 16 5 0.889
Brad Richards 18 6 10 16 -6 0.889
Ryan Smyth 18 8 5 13 8 0.722
Mike Fisher 18 4 8 12 4 0.667

I see three real candidates here. Mike Fisher is probably out of the running, simply because even earlier in the year there was the sense that he couldn’t keep up his offensive pace. Brad Richards wasn’t mentioned in the Lowe interview and despite a fantastic season hasn’t been as good of late, so he’s probably out too. Finally, I have a real soft spot for Ryan Smyth, but I can’t imagine him being named to the team.

Given the people saying that Carter is the likely choice, and given his improved play of late, I suspect he’ll be named to the team. He isn’t a bad choice by any means, and he brings a lot of things to the table, most notably goal scoring. Shane Doan would be my dark horse candidate; the fact that he plays wing has to be in his favour (even with Getzlaf out, Canada has an abundance of centres) and he would fit perfectly on one of the bottom two lines while still providing some talent.

The guy I would pick is a player I thought should have been named to the initial team. If Canada has a position of weakness, it is at right wing, and Martin St. Louis has represented the country in the past. Given the nature and speed of the tournament that experience would serve him well; he also has extensive playoff experience. I suspect he’ll be overlooked again, however.

UPDATE: Steven Stamkos has to be viewed as another likely candidate, although I tend to think that his age and the fact that he’s still developing as a two-way player will hurt his bid.  Those numbers are very difficult to ignore, however, and I’d have a hard time making a case against him if he were to be added to the team.

Comments (37)

  1. I’m a huge Flyer fan, but if it was my choice, there is no way I’d put Jeff Carter on this team. I’d definitely be way more in favor of Doan and especially St. Louis. Both those guys, (while not as talented offensively-in perception maybe only) possess more of a competitive fire than I’ve ever seen from Carter.

  2. i cant believe steven stamkos isn’t even mentioned! this guy went first overall in one of the deepest drafts in nhl history, can play solid two ways, top-notch speed, amazing hands and just increased his goal scoring streak to 9 games. there isn’t a hotter player in the nhl going into the olympics and we all remember what happened when we left out crosby cause he was deemed ‘too young’. this kid’s got talent and should not be overlooked!

  3. Steven Stamkos isn’t even in consideration? He’s at 32 goals on the season and has been incredible as of late. I’d have to think he’s somewhere in the mix…

  4. Heh, looks like Rumley beat me to it.

  5. As a flyer fan i hate to say it but i would rather see Stamkos as well although, if Carter is selected over anyone else mentioned, I don’t think it will mean the difference between medaling or not.

  6. I agree with Rumley, DarrenM. I think we learned the hard way last olympics about placing too much emphasis on age/nhl experience.

  7. Stamkos was a silly oversight on my part. I’ll edit the post to include him.

  8. Good point guys I didn’t think of Stamkos either. I’d rather see as few French players as possible, I don’t trust their heart when compared to a western guy or even an ontario guy.

  9. Seriously, Rod?

    I think it’s pretty difficult to argue that a player’s heart is dependant on what province he’s born in. Pat Falloon for instance is a good ‘ole Western boy.

  10. Rod that’s a weird comment… are you being serious or just trolling around?

    You seriously doubt Marty St-Louis’s heart to win…? I bet most every Bolts fan would disagree with you. Same goes for Vinny, if we were to include him in this conversation.

  11. I think Stamkos should get strong consideration,like rumley and darrenm said you can’t ignore his numbers, his speed, and his shot. The hottest canadian goal scorer going into the olympics. His age shouldnt be a factor in holding him back

  12. Jordan Staal have a shot? Have seen him mentioned as being in the running

  13. It is true the team could use more wingers and St. Louis is a natural right winger but has been playing left wing alot this year. Either way Stamkos or St. Louis would both be good choices, but I’m still leaning towards Stamkos

  14. I was shocked that St. Louis wasn’t on the team to begin with. The team needs more wingers. That said, Stamkos has been making a very loud argument with his play on the ice. He’s a sniper and Canada needs snipers. So, as much as I hate to say it, I’d pick Stamkos over St. Louis.

  15. Jordan Staal have a shot? Have seen him mentioned as being in the running on other sites

  16. I maybe alone when I say this but I honestly would take Richards in replacement of Getzlaf not taking anything away from Stamkos’ ( I still think he should be on the team, Hint Morrison shouldnt be there) But as far as a comparable player to the replacement of Getzlaf, Richards would be a better fit, Plus he is a solid two player. And as far as the joker that thinks it matters which province you hail from as far as heart goes well lets just all be glad he has nothing to do with the selection process!

  17. Rsmotors: There’s no Morrison on Team Canada. Did you mean Morrow?

  18. hey r.s
    i’m glad you don’t have anything to do with the selection roster either, if your roster includes morrison and richards it wouldn’t matter if they had all the heart in the world!!

  19. I think I’m going to be accused of “panzifying” the game for this, but there’s no way that I want Jeff Carter representing me as a Canadian. Looking one post down on Hockey or Die (a title that suddenly seems unfortunate) there is an example of a play that he is becoming notorious for. I think that he has a lot to offer as a hockey player both in terms of skill and physical ability, but until he learns how to differentiate between respectful hard hockey and that sort of play, I can’t support his candidacy. Can you imagine what the international response would be if he did something like that in the gold medal game? Not only would it tarnish Canadian Hockey: it would put an ugly mark on all Canadians who love the game and the Olympics themselves. The way that he’s playing the game now, Jeff Carter is too much of a risk to put in a Canadian uniform.

    ps: I really don’t care if that hit was considered “legal” or a “fair hockey play”. Anybody who’s willing to argue that a legal, fair, or good play should result in serious injury is welcome to the entertainment provided by MMA – a forum that is designed for such violence.

  20. I did mean Morrow I had a brain cramp lol

  21. why not jordan staal? he is by far the best penalty killer in the league. If a team has a 5-3 powerplay the best man to kill that penalty would be staal. He is a big body who will do whatever it takes to win ie. Stanley Cup Finals last year

  22. Getzlaf doesn’t deserve to be on this team in the first place. His replacement is obvious – Martin St. Louis. It shouldn’t be a question really.

    Oh, and boot Morrow’s sorry behind and add Doan.

  23. Um Carter is becoming notorious for what???? you are probably thinking of Richards if you are talking about Carters hit….And Richards is already on the team

  24. stamkos is too much of a gamebreaker to not make the team. should have been on the team in the first place. stevie y needs to remember… you can never have enough scoring. don’t make the same mistake that gretzky did in 2006 when he left off crosby because of his “youth”. this is assuming getzlaf doesn’t make it. if anyone stands out to me as not deserving of a place on the team.. it’s brenden morrow.

    st. louis is also deserving and can add to our offensive punch from the RW position, but who do you take off? for me it’s bergeron but it isn’t as obvious a choice as replacing morrow.

  25. I wish I could find the stat but I’m on my phone right now… I think since the last 25 games of last season Stamkos up to this date is top 10 in points and top 3 in goals in the NHL. Its funny I was watching the higlights of the TB game and was hoping there would be an injury so Stamkos could go. Now if only one more could go down so St. Louis could get in… lol. Id happily swap perry/getzlaf for stamkos/louis.

  26. lolz… i dont see how a lot of u can just say kick him off the team for him… all players on the canadian roster are all game breakers or game savers for their own teams in the nhl… as for the redic coment on leaving getzlaf and perry off the roster for stamkos/st.louis is kinda sad.. i personally would stick with perry atleast… getzlaf may make it to the olympics but will he be at 100%? i doubt it… i hope they will replace getzlaf or maybe he will have the class to sit out due to not being 100%… i would personally put in doan… he’s got a ton of international hockey expierence plays with an edge and is versatile…

  27. also if he’s 100% (getzlaf) he should go and tear it up… one of the funniest players to watch for me… very good with the puck and an elite play maker…

  28. Andrew- As far as the hit i think your talking about goes, it was a clean hit. A player cant tell if his next hit is gonna result in an injury to another player. By your uptight logic hitting should be taken away from hockey altogether. Why not remove it from football too right? Hitting defines the game, and every player who chooses to play hockey are well aware of the risks that comes from the physicality. There have been some dirty hits this year theres no doubt about that, and Im not for blatant headshots. But i think the hit your referring to was a good hit.

  29. Any chance they consider replacing Getzlaf’s spot (if he is in fact unable to play) with an 8th defenseman? Defense is the position I’m really worried about for Canada. Our leaders (Pronger, Neidermayer) are too long in the tooth for me personally. I loved the selections of Doughty and Keith particularly, and would like to see more defensemen of their type instead of Pylon Pronger and the greybeard.

    Mike Green could be properly sheltered as an 8th defender to the effect that he could stay out for the duration of a 2-minute powerplay and do some real damage.

    Jay Bouwmeester skates for days and is more reliable, using his brain to make solid hockey plays. This would relegate Pronger to more of a specialist (PK and PP) to ease the load. I fully understand that Pronger’s a workhorse, but he’s getting beaten more and more at even strength and could be a liability in such a short tournament.

  30. Did I hear Jason Spezza”s name mentioned?

  31. Hey Canadian Hockey Fanatics,
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  32. Andrew so i guess you a realllllllllllyyyyy going to miss the All Star game this year…All offense no defence no hitting. If thats the kind of hockey you like you should venture on down to your local arena and watch some no hit no slap shot beer league hockey. …..It was a good hard hit unfortunately people sometimes get hurt playing hockey.

  33. Jonathan, I love your work but why would you use the simplistic pts/game when we have the metrics to compare pts/60? I think you’ll see a lot of the perceived difference between the players narrow.

  34. so apparently jeff carter would be the replacement assuming getzlaf can’t make it. as i feared.

  35. Carter is only 25, has scored 98 goals in the last 221 games, 12 goals 17 pts in 12 World Junior tournies, kills penalties ( 11 sh goals in career), is big, strong and fast…….I said earlier that i would prefer Stamkos myself but with all comments I felt i had to defend my guy.

  36. * 12 WJC games

  37. I can’t believe only one guy has mentioned Jason Spezza! The guy has the size of Getzlaf (6-3, 215) and has 10 goals in his last 10 games…I would say his recent play is even better than Carter’s, and I really like Carter. Of course it doesn’t hurt that I am a diehard Sens fan. GO SENS! GO TEAM CANADA!

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