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Sochi 2014: Team USA Olympic roster forecast

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Goaltender Ryan Miller will likely be on the 2014 U.S. men's Olympic hockey team.

Ryan Miller, the 2010 Olympic tournament MVP, will return, but will he be the No. 1? (Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

The opening of the Sochi Games is just a year away, and while there’s still no formal agreement that NHL players will skate in the men’s hockey tournament, all signs point in that direction and league officials are to meet with the IIHF on Feb. 14 and 15 to discuss the matter.

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Coming off a surprising silver medal performance in 2010, Team USA will ice a competitive squad that is stacked in net, young and mobile on the blueline and aggressive, if not particularly deep, up front.

Here’s how we see Team USA lining up in Russia.

Goaltenders

Jonathan Quick (Kings): He’s off to a sluggish start this season, but at this point, the Conn Smythe winner is the presumptive No. 1 because of his proven big-game ability.

Ryan Miller (Sabres): He hasn’t been the same player since the end of that 2009-10 season, but he doesn’t have anything to prove. The 2010 Olympic MVP is a lock to make this team.

Cory Schneider (Canucks): The Senators’ Craig Anderson is lights out right now, but he’ll be 32 when the Games roll around. Schneider will be 27 and he has a future with the USA Hockey program, so he’ll get the call.

Defensemen

Ryan Suter (Wild): He’ll be Mr. Everything on the American blueline.

Jack Johnson (Blue Jackets): This two-way blueliner eats heavy minutes and is a tremendous presence. Look for him to wear the C.

Ryan McDonagh (Rangers): He’s young, but used to playing heavy minutes against top forwards. He’s also great at taking away the lane and blocking shots.

Keith Yandle (Coyotes): Strong transitional play and special teams expertise make him a safe bet for top-four minutes.

Kevin Shattenkirk (Blues): He continues to develop into a reliable two-way player. Strong in transition, he doesn’t make many mistakes.

Justin Faulk (Hurricanes): This youngster has shown a dramatic development curve. He can play in all situations, and his speed and hockey sense make him an ideal third-pairing guy.

Zach Bogosian (Jets): When he’s healthy, he’s a beast. He can be the crease-clearing physical presence the Americans desperately need on the back end.

Forwards

Zach Parise (Wild): Team USA’s top all-around forward, he’ll be asked to lead the offense.

Patrick Kane (Blackhawks): The dynamic, creative winger has rediscovered his game this season. He’s a lock for the first line.

Bobby Ryan (Ducks): Big body, soft hands. He could play on either of the top two lines.

Joe Pavelski (Sharks): He performed brilliantly in Vancouver and should assume a larger role in Sochi. Look for him to take all the big draws.

Max Pacioretty (Canadiens): This dogged puck pursuer and volume shooter could earn a top-six role.

Ryan Kesler (Canucks): He would be best used on the second unit, but a lack of elite centers could force him into a first-line role.

Dustin Brown (Kings): He brings a physical presence and a knack for scoring big goals.

Ryan Callahan (Rangers): He boasts leadership, smarts and a willingness to pay any price to win a game.

David Backes (Blues): The big, physical pivot will center the shutdown line.

T.J. Oshie (Blues): The buzzsaw winger will provide energy in a depth role.

Jason Pominville (Sabres): Emerging as a reliable, two-way forward for the Sabres, he has the versatility to slide up or down the roster.

Phil Kessel (Maple Leafs): America’s best natural finisher is off to a rough start with Toronto, but he’ll fill a top-six/power play role in Sochi.

Alex Galchenyuk (Canadiens): It’s all projection at this point, but his speed, skill and creativity are made for the big ice. He could be a dynamic fill-in as the 13th forward, much like Jonathan Toews was for Canada in 2010.

  • Published On Feb 07, 2013
  • 7 comments
    MikeMcDermott
    MikeMcDermott

    Craig Anderson is the most notable absence here. He has to be a chosen net-minder. JVR should also be included on the forwards list and John Carlson over Zach Bogosion on defense.

    KyleMcCrory
    KyleMcCrory

    Finally. A roster that makes sense. ESPN and Yahoo have no idea what they're talking about. And a sleeper at forward could be Chris Kreider. He's got size, lightning speed, soft hands, and a wicked shot. We'll have to see how well he plays though.

    chijim222
    chijim222

    I'd take Nick Leddy or John Carlson over Jack Johnson anytime. 

     

    Jonathan Toews was a 13th man or fill-in for Canada? He was on a regular line every game and was voted best forward of the Olympics. 

    rooster
    rooster

    Think the Devils Mark Fayne could good fit very nicely with this team. The description of Shattenkirk's game also works for Fayne.

    chrewilson
    chrewilson

    What about Craig Anderson in net? No question that the 3 listed are in theory the best, but Anderson has been ripping up the league in Ottawa.

    scootage81
    scootage81

    How can you suggest Jack Johnson is the probable choice to captain a team that has Dustin Brown?! Brown is one of just two Americans to captain a Stanley Cup winner, he wore an "A" for Team USA in Vancouver, is in his prime, and has a good chance of representing the USA at the Games in 2018 (when he'd be 33) and maybe even in 2022. A lot can happen in the next year (except for Columbus making the playoffs), but to consider someone other than Brown the frontrunner at this juncture defies reason.

    justinshea
    justinshea

    As an Isles fan I really hope Okposo is in contention at that point - too bad he looks lost and out of shape at the moment - his development has really stalled. I always hoped he could be a Callahan type with a combo of grit, hustle, skill and leadership - all of the ingredients are there but he can't seem to put it together.