A look at the worthy players who were left out when the roster for Team USA was announced today in Ann Arbor:
Ben Bishop (Tampa Bay Lightning): No American has more wins or a better save percentage than the 27-year-old, but his lack of experience hurt. He would have been slotted at No. 3 at best, so he was unlikely to have seen action in any case.
Cory Schneider (New Jersey Devils): A real talent and a big-game player, but he’s never really got his feet under him since his trade to the Devils.
Keith Yandle (Phoenix Coyotes): The skilled two-way defender probably lost out to the similarly skilled Cam Fowler for the final spot. In case of injury, he’s the odds-on favorite to get the call.
Dustin Byfuglien (Winnipeg Jets): He would have been a real weapon on the power play, but his defensive deficiencies cost him.
Jack Johnson (Columbus Blue Jackets): He hasn’t had a terrific year, but Johnson has always upped his game whenever he’s put on a U.S. uniform. In big games against Canada or Russia, the Americans might wind up wishing they had this fierce competitor on hand.
Erik Johnson (Colorado Avalanche): Though he was thought by many to be a lock for the squad, the U.S. brain trust chose Brooks Orpik (and his chemistry with Paul Martin) to fill a defense-first role.
Andy Greene (New Jersey Devils): A nice all-around player, but not good enough at any one element of the game to truly set himself apart from the crowd.
Seth Jones (Nashville Predators): An invite to the summer camp, a heavy workload early in the season and a relationship with GM David Poile had him in Team USA’s sights, but he fell out of the mix with a rough November.
Bobby Ryan (Ottawa Senators): He’s the sort of player who can break open a tight game with a big goal … but that’s not enough to make this team anymore. His average foot speed might also have been an issue.
Kyle Okposo (New York Islanders): He ranks second in scoring among all Americans with 40 points, but he’s a right winger — the one position where the U.S. is loaded. He might get the call if Ryan Callahan can’t go.
Brandon Saad (Chicago Blackhawks): Sure, he’s young, but his poise under pressure last spring, his strength on the puck and his versatility earned him a long look. Ultimately, Team USA decided to rely on experience instead. His time will come … this just isn’t his time.
Jason Pominville (Minnesota Wild): If the U.S. falls in a shootout, this might be the guy they regret overlooking. He’s slick, quick and versatile, but again, just not quite good enough to displace a better-rounded player.
Brandon Dubinsky (Columbus Blue Jackets): It probably came down to him and Derek Stepan to fill the fourth-line role. Dubinsky plays a more aggressive, sandpapery game, but Stepan’s scoring ability made him more appealing.
Alex Galchenyuk (Montreal Canadiens): He has game-breaking speed and puck skills, but he’s inexperienced, and defensive concerns moved him down the list.