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A Different Approach to Roster Construction

Building a team for the modern game

A man.  A plan?
A man. A plan?
Jeff Curry/Getty Images

I saw an interesting article on Sportsnet. (It's from a couple weeks ago but I just saw it). Considering the Canadians just got bounced out of the tournament this might not be the best time to make this argument. I am undeterred!

I know that this is about the Canadian team at the U21 tournament, but I think it applies at the NHL level. The game has changed. The way you build the roster has to change in response.  The article says:

Gone are the days of Canada picking role players like Rob Zamuner, Shayne Corson or Kris Draper over players with more talent. The upcoming world junior team is the latest example of Hockey Canada’s seismic shift from the old reputation of big, hard and strong to the exploitation of skill, skill and more skill....

"It's such a shift because traditionally we were two skilled lines, a third line that was two-way, a fourth line that was that energy -- Jordin Tootoo," Jankowski said. "What happened was our third and fourth lines weren't good enough. The other countries are too good, and when we're leaving off our skilled players, we're playing right into their hands...."

"You can ask guys to work hard, you can teach guys to block shots. Who’s going to score? Who’s going to bring the offence?" Babcock said. "To me you take the best players, that's what you do and you can always get them to do whatever you want them to do, you just tell them what you want...."

Hmmm! Losing games because your third and fourth lines aren't good enough. Sounds vaguely familiar. I'm sure I've seen that somewhere.

Interesting too that the GM of Team Canada for the 2016 World Cup is none other than Doug Armstrong.