How Would You Build Your Team?

Every hockey fan will go through this discussion. “If I were to build my own team, I would have (insert player names here).” Well it got Hockey World Blog thinking, “Build a team with 1 forward, 1 defenseman, and 1 goalie, who would you pick?”


Forward: Pavel Datsyuk

If I were to build my team, I would keep it young in terms of age and experience, but I’d throw in a few guys in that 30-35-year-old range to provide leadership on and off the ice. Datsyuk is one of those players who can score a highlight reel goal every time he touches the puck. At age 31, Datsyuk has won two Stanley Cups and was a finalist for the Heart Trophy this past season. On my team, he would be that perfect combination of experience and offensive threat. Not to mention he’s a great two-way player as he won the last two Selke Trophies.

Defenseman: Mike Green

Mike Green has the perfect combination of scoring and defensive presense for a young player.
Mike Green has the perfect combination of scoring and defensive presence for a young player.

What a first-round draft the Capitals had in 2004. With the No. 1 overall pick, they take Alexander Ovechkin. And at No. 29 they take a young defenseman in Mike Green. They are amongst the best forward-defenseman combinations in the league. Both can light the lamp at anytime. What I like about Green is  that he’s grown into a much better player the last two seasons. Last year he scored 31 goals. That’s an insane amount for a defenseman. But what attracts me to him is his +/- rating. His +24 rating was tied for fifth in the league last season.

Goalie: Steve Mason

 In looking for a goalie, I want someone young who can be my franchise goalie, in the way that Chris Osgood was for Detroit and Martin Brodeur was for New Jersey. Living in the Central Division, I got to see a lot of the Blue Jackets and Steve Mason. He helped guide a team that was once the laughing stock of the NHL to a playoff birth last season. His 10 shutouts was the most in the league last season. If Columbus can get a couple more quality defenseman in front of him Mason can rise to one of the best goalies in the league.


Forward: Jarome Iginla

The boy can score, set up plays, fight and can even do commericals! Iginla is a class act, both on and off the ice. He is an ambassador for Kidsport Calgary which which donates $2,000 for every goal he scores. The money aides disadvantaged families by purchasing equipment as well as registration fees. He also supports many other causes through time and money, ranging from hockey diversity initiative to literacy programs. Sure you are widely known for the work you display on the ice, but to have a franchise player, you want someone well rounded both on and off the ice.

Jonathan Ericsson finishes a hit and already has eyes back on the play.
Jonathan Ericsson finishes a hit and already has eyes back on the play.

Defense: Jonathan Ericsson

Perhaps my biased Wings fan is showing, but Ericsson is going to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame one day. Currently under Nicklas Lidstrom’s leadership as a defenseman, I expect nothing but great things to come from this kid and would be more than willing to put a franchise with him at the center. The 6’4″ 206 lb. hard hitting and shooting player is a treat to watch at his young age. His agility and coordination improves daily it seems, with the natural unteachable poise of play that he possesses, and willingness to drop the gloves when he needs to.

Goalie: Jonas Gustavsson

Any player with the nickname “The Monster” is bound to gain attention. Coming into his first year and already with the media following would only mean $$$ for the owner. Fans would come far and wide just to get a glimpse of his enormous size only to be matched by his enormous talent. With the feeling that he alone could defeat a team with his quick reflexes, you could only imagine that he increases your chances of making playoffs as well as the possibility of getting some cups.



Forward: Alexander Ovechkin

Give me a goal-scorer like Alexander Ovechkin any day of the week to build my offensive program around. This guy can score from his knees, while he’s diving, forward or backward. He is one of the most dynamic forwards in the NHL right now because of his speed, skating ability and his capacity to shoot mid-stride and catch both goalies and defenders off guard. Ovechkin has topped the 50-goal plateau three times in his four NHL seasons, only missing out on 50 by four goals in 2006-07. Plus Ovechkin is young. At just 23 years of age, this sniper has a long NHL career ahead of him.

Defenseman: Dion Phaneuf

If I get one player to build my defensive core around, I want a guy like Dion Phaneuf standing on my blue line. At 6’3 and 214 pounds, this guy is big, scary, and mean. He plays physical and is no stranger to throwing a few bone-crunching checks. His physical style of play has landed him with 90 penalty minutes or more in each of his four NHL seasons, topping out at 182 PIM during the 2007-2008 season. Phaneuf has an offensive prowess, too. In 323 NHL games, Phaneuf has accumulated 206 points, including 141 helpers. At the tender age of 24, Phaneuf has all the makings of a star blue liner.

Goalie: Ryan Miller

For a starting goalie, I like Ryan Miller. While he may not be cozying up to any goaltender records anytime soon, this is a guy who is solid between the pipes and gives you a chance to win every night. While he isn’t a tender young pup anymore at the age of 29, he definitely still has several quality years left in him to backstop a team to the Cup. Miller sports a career goals against average of 2.66 and a save percentage of 0.910. Not every team can draft a Marty Brodeur or Roberto Luongo, but Miller will make the saves he’s supposed to and probably stop a few that he shouldn’t. If nothing else, he will give you a chance to win night in and night out.



Forward: Alex Ovechkin

Alexander Ovechkin is a scoring machine, plain and simple. As time goes on, however, he is solidifying himself as a more responsible defensive player as well. In fact, Alex finished his 2009 playoff campaign with a +10 rating in 14 games played. He is evolving into a terrific leader, and a player who wants nothing more than to win the Stanley Cup.

Defense: Mike Green

Does this guy not just remind you of Bobby Orr a little bit? At least in terms of his skating and scoring? If there is another defenseman to crack the 100 point barrier anytime soon, my money is on Mike Green. Last season he had 31 goals and another 42 helpers, for 73 points on the season, in only his third full year in the NHL. He is young, he is talented, and he will win a Norris Trophy and a Stanley Cup before his career is over.

Goalie: Roberto Luongo

They say that goalies tend to reach their peak performance level a bit later in their career than most other players. Well, if that’s the case, at 30 years young, Roberto Luongo is a guy you want on your squad. He has proven himself as a guy who can handle a heavy workload, playing more than 70 games in four of the past five seasons. Along with that, he’s posted a .919 save percentage throughout his career. As the current captain of the Vancouver Canucks, you know the man has tremendous leadership ability, and that is vital to the construction of any team.


  1. I would have to agree B. Lee, but the numbers Green puts up is valuable to any team.

    The saying, “Defense wins championships” does come to mind though.

    Keep the posts coming.

  2. Jonathan Ericsson and Jonas Gustavsson? I realize as a blogger you need to be creative and thought provoking, but these just come off as insane. Your picking your franchise players off of a combine 29 NHL games? That’s almost as crazy as getting my hockey new from an American hockey writer.

  3. I see you were happy with Iginla though.

    Ericsson is a young player up an coming. He has size, the ability to use that size, as well as a great heads up for the game. Not to mention he is under Nicklas Lidstrom and the best team in the NHL for developing payers, the Detroit Red Wings.

    As for Gustavsson, time will tell. I am going out on a limb here, but guessing you dislike any thing in a Maple Leaf jersey.

    I suppose it is almost as crazy as me taking an opinion from a Canadien seriously. 🙂

  4. I do like (love) the Iginla pick, and I do hate everything in a Maple Leaf jersey, but I think it’s premature to assume that Gustavasson is going to be a premiere NHL goaltender. Mason would be a much safer pick, but I suppose this whole article does fall into the “fantasy sports” category. No hard feelings. I am enjoying the blog.

  5. None taken my Canadien friend. I’m just razzing ya a bit in return.

    Mason by far would be a safer pick as he is a phenomenal goalie and hopefully will only become better.

    Gustavsson is a riskier pick, but if you are to pick a franchise player, you also need to pick someone who gets media attention, and it seems he does. Heart problem, nickname, Toskala or him?, etc…

    Keep the comments coming, it is nice to hear them. I am surprised no one has gotten on my case about my “From Phoenix with Love” soap box blog yet.

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