Revisiting my US Olympic Hockey roster projections

Earlier in the summer I took the time to project who I felt would be donning the red, white and blue for the United States in the 2014 Olympic Games. With a quarter of the NHL season in the books there is a potential for a number of players to have cemented their spots or even opened the eyes of the USA Hockey executive team.

Considering the US doesn’t have the mountain of talent that is touted by the Canadians to pull from, there are more than a few assumed locks for the team. Patrick Kane and Phil Kessel are both enjoying strong starts to the season and will certainly be counted upon to continue their elite scoring ways in Sochi. The story remains the same for many of the forwards I assumed would be making the squad.

What it will likely come down to is who has the strongest resume as the games near. While the orientation camp and preseason rosters were based on career resumes and the assumed growth of players, others have shot out of the gates and bear watching as the season progresses. Due to that, there is likely to be some shuffling amongst the names who already were considered favorites.

Max Pacioretty has only played 15 games and has accounted for nine points (7+2) in that span. His absence from the lineup and the slower start could bump him off the roster as could be the case for James Van Riemsdyk. He has 16 points (9+7) in 22 games and has a natural chemistry with Kessel, but he could also be supplanted by a new face should the executive staff go with who is playing best.

JVR is probably more of a longshot to be left off the roster than to make it at this point and Ryan Callahan’s injury issues to start the year and Dustin Brown’s unimpressive offensive output won’t win them many favorites. However, Brown and Callahan both serve incredibly well in a checking and leadership role, which will likely cement their spot on the roster.

My original roster only accounted for 13 forwards and seven defensemen as I didn’t account for the two extra roster spots made available for this year’s games. Given that my original roster now has two gift openings, there isn’t nearly as much trouble trying to narrow down who should and shouldn’t be packing up for Russia.

The players who have motivated me to revisit my picks include; Jason Pominville (13 goals already), TJ Oshie (21 points) along with a few others who I originally considered little more than darkhorse candidates (Alex Galchenyuk, Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Fowler).

I truly believe that most of the American roster was decided early on as players like David Backes, Kane, Kessel, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter were all but decided the minute the orientation camp roster came out. Others would certainly be favorites but would need a solid first half of the year to cement their spot, this is where I see some opportunity for turnover. Here’s my new roster with new names highlighted in blue: Continue reading

Projecting the 2014 US Olympic Hockey roster: The Goalies

Part one: Forwards

Part two: Defensemen

Part three: Goalies

The final position left to prognosticate for the 2014 US Olympic roster is in between the pipes. I previously noted the impressive talent the Americans will have along the blueline, but in net is truly the strength of the team.

Tim Thomas probably won’t be part of the conversation this time around after a year away from the game in his bunker in Colorado – or however he actually spent the year. Ryan Miller will certainly be considered for a roster spot while Jonathan Quick will probably graduate from third to first string for the 2014 games.

Quick is the guy I’ve tabbed to be my started with Cory Schneider and Jimmy Howard to follow in behind as his backups. Continue reading

Projecting the 2014 US Olympic Hockey roster: The Defensemen

Part one: Forwards

Part two: Defensemen

Part three: Goalies

Just as center is the assumed weak spot for the Americans entering the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, their most impressive position (outside of goal) is along the blueline.

The 2010 US team had to replace a pair of defensemen late in the year as Ryan Whitney and Tim Gleason were last minute replacements for Mike Komisarek and Paul Martin. Not only do I not see any of those four players (particularly Komisarek) getting any consideration for the US roster, there will also be holes left by Brian Rafalski (retirement) and basic roster turnover.

Both Erik and Jack Johnson will be left off my roster leaving only Ryan Suter and Brooks Orpik as the returning defensemen from the 2010 Olympics.

LD

RD

Ryan Suter (A)

Ryan McDonagh

Brooks Orpik

Keith Yandle

Kevin Shattenkirk

John Carlson

Justin Faulk

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Projecting the 2014 US Olympic hockey roster

Part one: Forwards

Part two: Defensemen

Part three: Goalies

In nine months we’ll be four years removed from the impressive run that Team USA took to the sliver medal in Vancouver. While the US entered the 2010 Olympics as an underdog expected to finish behind the Swedes, Finns, Russians and Canadians, they will not enjoy the same treatment entering Sochi. In fact, the US might boast one of the most impressive rosters in the tournament when they arrive in nine months.

I took the time to lay out the roster that I think the Americans will bring with them to Russia and what should be a gold medal contender. I’ll begin with the forwards and move to the defensemen and goaltenders over the next two days.

One thing that the 2010 roster had was an interesting mix of veteran and up-and-coming talent. Olympic and NHL vets like Chris Drury, Jamie Langenbrunner and Brian Rafalski offered loads of international experience to an unhearalded roster. While all three of those players have since moved on, a majority of the players who made their US Olympic debut in Vancouver are all four years older as they prepare for Sochi.

With Drury and Langenbrunner both out of the picture, I also didn’t include Ryan Malone on my roster. Otherwise, the forward ranks are full of holdovers from the 2010 roster.

LW

 

C

 

RW

Patrick Kane

 

Joe Pavelski

 

Dustin Brown

Zach Parise

 

James VanRiemsdyk

 

Phil Kessel

Max Pacioretty

 

Paul Stastny

 

Bobby Ryan

David Backes (A)

 

Ryan Kesler

 

Ryan Callahan (C)

   

Derek Stepan

   

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