Canada’s announcement of their preliminary World Cup roster left off a player that many people expected to be a large part of their team – some even pinning him to play on the first line along his line-mate Patrice Bergeron. We are, of course, talking about Brad Marchand, who was snubbed of a spot on Team Canada’s “first sixteen.”
Many people have pointed to Marchand’s reputation across the league as a potential reason as to why the soon-to-be 28-year-old winger was left off of the preliminary squad. However, there are certainly plenty of reasons to believe that Marchand will be given a spot when the Canadians finish their roster.
Perhaps Team Canada is trying to send a message to Brad Marchand. Or, perhaps they don’t understand how solid of a player the gritty winger has become.
When you run down the stats line, it’s pretty easy to see why Marchand will be donning the red and white sweater this fall. With 33 goals already this season, Marchand currently sits ahead of Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn as the league’s third-highest scorer.
— NHL (@NHL) March 4, 2016
Marchand plays a quick game, with slick hands and an accurate shot that has beaten goaltenders time and time again this season. He possesses the offensive abilities that Team Canada would certainly benefit from if they add him to the roster. However, it’s Marchand’s lesser-known defensive credentials that will ultimately seal the deal for his addition.
Looking at traditional stats, Brad Marchand sits at 10th in the NHL in plus-minus, and has proven to Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien (who will be an assistant coach for Team Canada) that he is a reliable player on the penalty-kill as well. Heck, the guy is even a threat on the penalty kill, with 4 short-handed goals this season – enough to earn him the 2nd rank in the NHL.
A dive into fancier stats makes for an even stronger argument for Marchand.
Let’s compare Brad Marchand to Jonathan Toews for a second. Surely, Team Canada would never consider leaving Toews off of the roster, right? Any hockey analyst can tell you why – because he plays a two-way game – reliable in his own end, and deadly in the opposing zone. Surely anybody with his stats would be guaranteed spot on Team Canada… right?
Yep, Marchand’s fancy stats line up with, and in some cases surpass those of Jonathan Toews – especially in the defensive zone, where Toews is hailed as one of the league’s strongest defensive-forwards. Marchand’s shot suppression, as well as goal suppression stats outweigh those of Toews by a pretty significant margin.
His HERO charts don’t lie either.
And let’s not overlook just how dangerous the Bergeron-Marchand duo can be.
When it’s all said and done, every indication shows that Brad Marchand will represent Team Canada at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Leaving the young winger off of Team Canada’s final roster just can’t be done. Fool me once, shame on you… but fool me twice…
Agree? Disagree? Just want to talk hockey? Reach out to Cam on Twitter @CamHasbrouck and The Hockey Writers @TheHockeyWriter
Cam is a Broadcast Journalism student at the University of Maryland. He’s the Boston Bruins Beat Writer at The Hockey Writers, and is an avid college hockey fan. Find him on Twitter @CamHasbrouck!