The 2018 Olympic Winter Games begin on Wednesday with mixed doubles curling. If you do not have goosebumps at this moment, you are not a legitimate sports fan. We all know that the National Hockey League players will not be there. It is what it is. The National Hockey League had its reasons, even though one of them (such as the Olympics being disruptive to their season when many teams took half of January off) need to be questioned. Anyways, even though Team Canada may not have current NHL stars, they will have its share of players who have played with Canadian teams in the NHL in years past. Here is the list.
Goaltender Ben Scrivens of Spruce Grove, Alberta played two seasons each with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers and one season with the Montreal Canadiens from 2011 to 2016. He was 24-37-11 with the Oilers, 11-14-2 with the Maple Leafs and 5-8 with the Canadiens. It will be interesting to see who will be Canada’s number one goalie as Scrivens will battle Justin Peters and Kevin Poulin for the nod.
Defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani of Montreal, Quebec played 14 games for the Vancouver Canucks in the 2011-12 season. He had one goal and two assists for three points. He is part of a Canadian team that lacks big name experience on the blueline, and do not be surprised if he averages 20+ minutes per game.
Right winger Rene Bourque of Lac La Biche, Alberta, played four seasons for the Calgary Flames from 2008 to 2012 and two years for the Canadiens from 2012 to 2014. While with the Flames, Bourque reached the 50 point plateau twice including a career high 31 assists and 58 points in 2009-10.
Center Gilbert Brule of Edmonton, Alberta, played three seasons for the Oilers from 2008 to 2011. His career best season came in 2009-10, when he had career highs in goals (17), assists (20) and points (37). Expectations were high for Brule when he was selected in the first round, sixth overall, in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets. However Brule could not dominate offensively in the NHL, like he did with the Vancouver Giants in the Western Hockey League.
Center Andrew Ebbett of Vernon, British Columbia played two seasons for the Canucks from 2011 to 2013. He had six goals and six assists for 12 points in 46 games. Do not be surprised if he is used as more of a checking line faceoff man for Team Canada in Pyeongchang.
Center Quinton Howden of Winnipeg, Manitoba played five games for the Winnipeg Jets in 2016-17. He had zero points in five games before moving on to Dinamo Minsk of the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia.
Center Chris Kelly of Toronto, Ontario played eight seasons with the Ottawa Senators from 2003-2011 and again from 2016-17. He had 80 goals and 108 assists for 188 points in 545 games. Kelly had a career high 23 assists with the Senators in 2006-07.
Left winger Rob Klinkhammer of Lethbridge, Alberta played one season for the Senators in 2011-12 and two seasons for the Oilers from 2014-16. In 69 games with the Senators and Oilers, he had two goals and four assists for six points.
Right winger Brandon Kozun of Calgary, Alberta, played 20 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2014-15 and had two goals and two assists for four points. He was traded from the Los Angeles Kings to the Maple Leafs on January 22, 2014 for Andrew Crescenzi.
Center Maxim Lapierre of Saint-Leonard, Quebec played six seasons with the Canadiens from 2005 to 2011 and three seasons for the Canucks from 2010 to 2013. His best offensive season came in Montreal in 2008-09, when he had career highs in goals (15), assists (13) and points (28). Lapierre had 40 goals and 40 assists for 80 points in 293 games with Montreal and 14 goals and 16 assists for 30 points in 149 games with Vancouver.
Center Eric O’Dell of Ottawa, Ontario played 41 games for the Jets from 2013 to 2015. He had three goals and five assists for eight points over those two seasons.
Left winger Mason Raymond of Calgary, Alberta played six seasons for the Vancouver Canucks from 2007 to 2013, one season with the Maple Leafs from 2013 to 2014 and two seasons for the Flames from 2014 to 2016. In 542 games with Canadian teams, Raymond had 115 goals and 136 assists for 251 points. Raymond’s best NHL season came with the Canucks in 2009-10, when he had career highs in goals (25), assists (28) and points (53).
Center Derek Roy of Ottawa, Ontario, played one season for the Canucks in 2012-13 and one season for the Oilers in 2014-15. With the Canucks, Roy had three goals and three assists for six points in 12 games and with the Oilers, Roy had 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points in 46 games.
Right winger Christian Thomas of Toronto, Ontario played 25 games for the Canadiens from 2013 to 2016 and had one goal and two assists for three points. He is the son of former Maple Leafs forward Steve Thomas.
Right winger Linden Vey of Wakaw, Saskatchewan, played 120 games for the Canucks and Flames from 2014 to 2017. He had 14 goals and 25 assists for 39 points.
Stay tuned to the Independent Sports News for Olympic coverage.