Team USA has chosen to bring 48 players to orientation camp, which is basically a meet and great golf tournament.
Of those 48 players that were selected for camp, only 25 will be chosen to make the trip to Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Olympics. 20 of those players will dress for each game, leaving five in the pressbox. Here’s my roster for Team USA in Sochi, based on the 48 players at the orientation camp.
1. Jonathan Quick
2. Craig Anderson
Quick is arguably the best goaltender in the game right now, regardless of Bobrovsky’s Vezina. He’s a big time player that makes huge saves all game long. Anderson is the backbone of the Ottawa Senators and would have won the Vezina with ease had he not suffered an injury this season. I'm well aware that previous International games factor in the decisions, but I just think that Anderson can't be overlooked with how he played behind a battered team like the Senators this season. The American crease is loaded with talent and will be the deciding factor in each of their games.
Ryan Suter – Zach Bogosian
Kevin Shattenkirk – Keith Yandle
Ryan McDonaugh – Jack Johnson
Team USA boasts a solid defensive core that will bring annoyance to opposing players throughout the tournament. Ryan Suter undoubtedly leads the way for the red, white and blue, however his supporting cast is impressive. This tournament should give people a chance to see how good Shattenkirk really is, when he isn’t in Pietrangelo’s shadow.
Patrick Kane – Paul Stastny – Phil Kessel
Bobby Ryan – Ryan Kesler – Zach Parise
Dustin Brown – Joe Pavelski – James van Reimsdyk
T.J. Oshie – Derrick Stepan – Ryan Callahan
The forward lineup is more talented than most give it credit for. A dangerous top six is led by two-time Cup champion Patrick Kane, as well as the only player other than Steven Stamkos to finish in the top 10 in scoring the past two seasons, Phil Kessel. Team USA brings a talented checking group with them to Sochi led by Kings captain Dustin Brown. Grinders will be an important role for Team USA as they battle the offensive explosion from Team Canada and Team Russia during the tournament.
G Ryan Miller
D Dustin Byfgulien
D Paul Martin
F Max Pacioretty
F David Backes
When Ryan Miller is your third string, you know you have a great crease. Byfgulien could be in the top six for the Americans but I just don’t trust his conditioning, which will need to be tip-top to compete at this level of play. Paul Martin is an underrated guy that brings solid defense with an offensive upside that would blend in well due to injury. Pacioretty is a top power forward in the NHL right now but just doesn’t carry the experience or hands that other grinders do for this squad. Backes provides depth down the side in case of injury to a grinder-role player. Of the 48 players invited to camp, I couldn’t think of a better #25 than Backes.
Here's my pick for the captaincy:
C Dustin Brown
A Ryan Suter
A Ryan Callahan
In 2010 the Americans entered with a strong roster, but most people didn’t see them heading to the Gold Medal game against Canada, let alone overtime, but they deserved every minute of it. This roster is similar in the way that critics won’t believe in them until they step on the ice. Sochi should be no different for the USA as they expect to be in the Gold Medal game once again. The game isn’t won on paper, it’s won on the ice.
That’s my roster for Team USA in Sochi. Leave your thoughts in the comment section.
Thanks for reading!