Earlier today Hockey Canada added St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to its World Cup team to replace Chicago blue liner Duncan Keith. Keith is still not 100% as he continues to rehab from a right knee injury suffered last season. Blackhawks team physician, Dr. Michael Terry, had this to say about Keith’s recovery:
“As Duncan continues offseason rehabilitation on the right knee injury that he sustained last season, we understand his decision not to participate in next month’s World Cup of Hockey. We believe it is in his best interests to focus on getting stronger and not risk further injury.”
Bouwmeester joins Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Jake Muzzin as the only left-handed shooters on Canada’s blue line. That’s likely the primary reason Bouwmeester was chosen over right-handed options such as Kris Letang and P.K. Subban. It was also somewhat surprising that Bouwmeester was added over Mark Giordano of the Flames.
Giordano tallied 21 goals and 56 points while playing a full slate of games for Calgary. He has developed into one of the league’s best offensive defenseman over the last three seasons and like Bouweester, is a left-handed shot.
Bouwmeester, conversely, recorded just 19 points and was had a plus-minus rating of -4 in 72 games for the Blues. In all probability, Hockey Canada favored Bouwmeester’s extensive experience representing his home country. He was a part of the 2004 World Cup-winning team and also won a gold with Team Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Team Canada is obviously still going to be one of the tournament’s favorites but if there is a weakness, it may well be the team’s blue line.
Lindholm, 22, scored 10 goals and 28 points last season for the Ducks and is considered one of the up-and-coming young defensemen in the league. He’ll join an excellent blue line group anchored by Erik Karlsson from Ottawa and Victor Hedman of Tampa Bay.
Sweden is expected, along with Team USA, to be one of the biggest threats to Canada’s chances in this tournament. In addition to an excellent defense corps, Sweden will have Henrik Lundqvist between the pipes. Up front they have plenty of skill led by the Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik, Filip Forsberg and Nicklas Backstrom. Obviously Sweden boasts a formidable roster with plenty of talent.