Speculation has been brewing, as it does every time that NHL players are headed to the Olympics, about what Blues will be selected to an Olympic team. Doug Armstrong, GM of the Blues, is also the general manager of Team Canada, and he’s selected his own NHL players for the national team in the past. He’s helped Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester win gold medals in 2014.
This year’s Blues team may not have a ton of candidates for the Olympics for any team, but Doug Armstrong will always be Doug Armstrong. Canadian talent runs deep, and if he can work one of his current players onto that roster, he will. The Athletic (subscription required) has spoken to sources close to the Canadian Olympic team, and it seems like his goaltending selection process is reaching its conclusion.
Who are they looking at? Carey Price may be returning to Team Canada for another gold medal. Marc-Andre Fleury may be having difficulties in Chicago, but he’s a Cup and gold medal winner who took home the Vezina last year. Darcy Kuemper, Carter Hart, Mackenzie Blackwood, and Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington round out the list of six goalies submitted.
If you’ve raised an eyebrow at that list, you’re not the only one. Price is currently on a leave of absence from the Canadiens, but is expected to return. Fleury is struggling. Kuemper had career years in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, but stumbled last year in Arizona and hasn’t benefited from playing behind a depleted Avalanche team so far. Expectations are that he bounces back, but it being enough to warrant a spot on the Olympic team remains to be seen. Carter Hart is off to a great start with the Flyers, who look to be having a bounceback season, but last year - for both Hart and the team - was less than impressive.
Jordan Binnington’s inclusion on the list of surprising candidates should be the least surprising out of all of them. He has a Stanley Cup to his name, and Doug Armstrong is his general manager. The merits of Binnington’s six-year, $6 mil per contract is still debated, and will be until the cows come home. If he’s selected to the Canadian Olympic roster, there will be discussions of Armstrong going with who is familiar to him, not who necessarily is the best for the job - but honestly, any goaltender on that list save for maybe Mackenzie Blackwood, leaves Armstrong open to those accusations. Binnington is off to a strong start after three games; it will be interesting to evaluate where those six goaltenders are come time to whittle the list down to the final three.