The NHL is allowing their players to play in the Sochi Olympics, and now we know who is going to camp. There are 24 NHL teams represented on this years camp roster. . The roster has 48 players on it, and only 16 have Olympic experience. While nothing short of a gold will do, it is clear that USA Hockey may be working on getting younger. Here’s the breakdown.
Goaltenders: Craig Anderson (Ottawa Senators), John Gibson (Norfolk Admirals: AHL), Jimmy Howard (Detroit Red Wings), Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres), Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings), Cory Schneider (New Jersey Devils).
Thoughts: Assuming the US carries 3 goaltenders; my picks would be Ryan Miller, Jonathan Quick, and Cory Schneider. I don’t see John Gibson making it this year. I think that he is on the list to slowly bring him into the USA Hockey Olympic system. As for Jimmy Howard, and Craig Anderson, I believe Howard is a bit past his prime, and may be a bit older than the US really wants to bring to Sochi; Craig Anderson however may be the only other goaltender who could knock off one of my picks. It would take an outstanding camp for that to happen.
Defense: Zach Bogosian (Winnipeg Jets), Dustin Byfuglien (Winnipeg Jets), John Carlson (Washington Capitals), Dan DeKeyser (Detroit Red Wings), Justin Faulk (Carolina Hurricanes), Cam Fowler (Anaheim Ducks), Jake Gardiner (Toronto Maple Leafs), Erik Johnson (Colorado Avalanche), Jack Johnson (Columbus Blue Jackets), Seth Jones (Nashville Predators), Nick Leddy (Chicago Blackhawks), Paul Martin (Pittsburgh Penguins), Ryan McDonagh (New York Rangers), Brooks Orpik (Pittsburgh Penguins), Kevin Shattenkirk (St. Louis Blues), Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild), Jacob Trouba (Winnipeg Jets), Seth Jones (Nashville Predators), Keith Yandle (Phoenix Coyotes)
Thoughts: While the ice surface may come into play; I still feel that the top six will be Orpik, E. Johnson, McDonagh, Sutter, Carlson, and I could see Jones finding his way onto the roster. If not Jones I think Yandle may have a shot.
Forwards: Justin Abdelkader (Detroit Red Wings), David Backes (St.Louis Blues), Beau Bennett (Pittsburgh Penguins), Nick Bjugstad (Florida Panthers), Dustin Brown (Los Angeles Kings), Ryan Callahan (New York Rangers), Alex Galchenyuk (Montreal Canadiens), Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks), Ryan Kesler (Vancouver Canucks), Phil Kessel (Toronto Maple Leafs), Trevor Lewis (Los Angeles Kings), Kyle Okposo (New York Islanders), T.J. Oshie (St. Louis Blues), Max Pacioretty (Montreal Canadiens), Kyle Palmieri (Anaheim Ducks), Zach Parise (Minnesota Wild), Joe Pavelski (San Jose Sharks), Bobby Ryan (Ottawa Senators), Brandon Saad (Chicago Blackhawks), Craig Smith (Nashville Predators), Paul Stastny (Colorado Avalanche), Derek Stepan (New York Rangers), James van Riemsdyk (Toronto Maple Leafs), Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg Jets)
Thoughts: This is a troubling spot for me. I can’t decide if I should worry about the ice suffice or go with the players that can play the game I want. For me the size of the rink doesn’t effect forwards as much the defense. Here are my top players (not in any order). Oshie, Kane, Kesler, Parise, Ryan, Okposo, Pavelski, Smith, Saad, Stastny, Wheeler, Palmieri.
It doesn’t matter how you feel about some of these players; it’s about the country. While I would rather the Olympics return to an armature tournament I will watch and cheer just like any USA Hockey Fan.
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