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Dreger: Armstrong preparing Canada's World Championship roster

Darren Dreger
3/31/2009 8:20:11 PM
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Team Canada general manager Doug Armstrong and his management group have started two-per-week conference calls discussing the players, goaltenders and coaches they expect to choose from in assembling Canada's World Hockey Championship roster.

Goaltending and a designed youth component are among Canada's most compelling challenges.

A teenage trio is currently being discussed, including Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos, Los Angeles Kings' defenceman Drew Doughty and Toronto Maple Leafs' blueliner Luke Schenn.

Stamkos has enjoyed a terrific second half in his rookie season. 

Since the All-Star break, the 19-year old forward has scored 13 times in 28 games and appears to be flourishing under Lightning head coach Rick Tocchet.  In 48 games played prior to the All-Star break, Stamkos had scored just six goals.

Doughty leads the Kings and all NHL rookies in ice-time at just under 24 minutes per game, while Schenn may be brought on board as a seventh defenceman depending on Canada's depth on the blueline.

Doughty and Stamkos should be considered long shots for Canada's 2010 Olympic team; however, a strong performance in the upcoming World's could enhance the remote possibility.

Armstrong hopes to name two goalies at the end of the NHL regular season and will likely hold a spot open for a third, given the talent that could be available after the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Vancouver's Roberto Luongo, Columbus star rookie Steve Mason, Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury, Carolina's Cam Ward, Philadelphia's Martin Biron, and St Louis's Chris Mason are all on Canada's radar and one of these goalies will be added, if eliminated in the first round.

However, naming two non-playoff goaltenders is no walk in the park, either.

At the moment, Edmonton's Dwayne Roloson has the edge with fellow veterans Marty Turco and J.S Giguere potentially in the mix, but if Montreal bows out of the post-season picture, Canadiens' goaltender Carey Price will be considered as well.

Doug Armstrong is expected to begin talking to NHL teams about players' availability by the end of the week.

Darren Dreger

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