Our Picks for 2014: Candidates for the 2014 US Olympic Men's team

USA Hockey Magazine Makes Its Picks Of Who Will Suit Up In Sochi

Night started to descend on Fenway Park as the Boston Bruins had just defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1 in overtime, at the 2010 NHL Winter Classic. It was time for the real fireworks to commence. USA Hockey opted to use the nationally-televised stage on New Year’s Day to announce the U.S. Olympic Team that would compete in Vancouver in the world’s greatest hockey tournament.

Before the ice shavings could settle, the criticism started as some questioned various selections while others criticized the team as a whole. Still, U.S. general manager Brian Burke stood steadfast in his support of the team that he and several other American-born GMs put together for a gold-medal run.

By the time the Olympic flame was doused in Vancouver, the U.S. had come within a shot off the goal post from staging another monumental Olympic upset and eventually settled for the silver medal.

As the NHL lockout has thrown everything in to a state of flux, it will be interesting to see which players come flying out of the gate for the abbreviated season.

Without the benefit of a crystal ball, USA Hockey Magazine is making its own predictions of who will wear the red, white and blue in 2014.

In making our choices of 13 forwards, seven defensemen and three goaltenders, we factored in several variables – age, years in the league, service on past national or Olympic teams, performance during the 2011-12 season, and good old-fashioned favoritism.

Take Note: These selections are the picks of our editorial board and the Hockey Department here at USA Hockey and in no way, shape or form should these guesses be considered an endorsement from the intelligent and experienced USA Hockey minds that will ultimately pick the team.

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GOALIES

 

Ryan Miller

Age: 32
Buffalo Sabres
East Lansing, Mich.
Our Take: There would be no silver in Vancouver if not for Miller’s heroics. You can bet he would love another chance to backstop the Americans to a gold medal in Sochi.

Jonathan Quick

Age: 27
Los Angeles Kings
Hamden, Conn.
Our Take: The 2012 Conn Symthe winner is riding the hot hand coming into the season. Calm under pressure, Quick can handle the tough task of playing against the world’s best on the biggest stage.

Cory Schneider

Age: 26
Vancouver Canucks
Marblehead, Mass.
Our Take: It was a tough call but we take Schneider over Jimmy Howard as our No. 3 goalie. Now that he has claimed the No. 1 goaltending job in Vancouver he has his sights set on international success.

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Forwards

 

Zach Parise

Age: 28
Minnesota Wild
Minneapolis
Our Take: Team USA’s leading scorer from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics has blossomed into a leader both on and off the ice. His goal with 22 seconds left in the gold-medal game gave new life to the Americans. Can he help them take the next step in Sochi?

Phil Kessel

Age: 25
Toronto Maple Leafs
Madison, Wis.
Our Take: Kessel led all American scorers with 37 goals and 45 assists during a career-year last season. A proven point-producer, Kessel could be the key to the U.S. power-play unit.

David Backes

Age: 28
St. Louis Blues
Minneapolis
Our Take: The 6-foot-3 forward is a physical force with a scorer’s touch, having posted 30-plus goals in three consecutive seasons.

Patrick Kane

Age: 24
Chicago Blackhawks
Buffalo, N.Y.
Our Take: Since being drafted first overall in the NHL Entry Draft (2007), Kane has been a proven scorer, whether he’s sporting the Blackhawks crest or the red, white and blue. He led Team USA with 22 shots on goal in Vancouver.

Ryan Kesler

Age: 28
Vancouver Canucks
Livonia, Mich.
Our Take: Slowed by wrist and shoulder injuries last season, a healthy Kesler for the 2014 Olympics would give the U.S. another talented two-way center with the knack for setting up his line mates.

Bobby Ryan

Age: 25
Anaheim Ducks
Cherry Hill, N.J.
Our Take: Ryan has registered 30 or more goals in four straight seasons and had a team-high five goals in last year’s World Championship.

Dustin Brown

Age: 28
Los Angeles Kings
Ithaca, N.Y.
Our Take: What can Brown do for you? What can’t he do? Skill, leadership, grit, Brown will be counted on to follow his Stanley Cup run in L.A., with a gold-medal in Sochi.

Ryan Callahan

Age: 27
New York Rangers
Rochester, N.Y.
Our Take: Callahan led all Americans in the NHL with 13 power-play goals and should be a fixture on Team USA’s power-play squad. Clutch scoring and leadership make him a must-have on the U.S. roster.

Max Pacioretty

Age: 24
Montreal Canadiens
New Canaan, Conn.
Our Take: After scoring a career-high 33 goals last season, Pacioretty kept up the scoring tear by leading Team USA with two goals and 10 assists at the World Championships.

Derek Stepan

Age: 22
New York Rangers
Hastings, Minn.
Our Take: Stepan will get his first taste of Olympic action after leading the gold-medal winning U.S. squad in scoring at the 2010 World Junior Championship.

Joe Pavelski

Age: 28
San Jose Sharks
Plover, Wis.
Our Take: Pavelski led all American-born centers with 31 goals and 30 assists last year and has been a pivotal part of the San Jose Sharks offense.

T.J. Oshie

Age: 26
St. Louis Blues
Mt. Vernon, Wash.
Our Take: Coming off a career-high
35 assists last season, Oshie will be counted on to generate opportunities for his teammates.

Blake Wheeler

Age: 26
Winnipeg Jets
Robbinsdale, Minn.
Our Take: Coming off a career year in Winnipeg, this former top-five draft pick is finally coming into his own.

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Defensemen

 

Ryan Suter

Age: 28
Minnesota Wild
Madison, Wis.
Our Take: As steady as they come, Suter has blossomed into one of the best American D-men in the NHL. Now it’s time for him to join his father Bob on the top rung of the Olympic podium.

Keith Yandle

Age: 26
Phoenix Coyotes
Boston
Our Take: If a star rises in the Arizona desert and nobody knows it, is he really a star? In Yandle’s case the answer is a definitive “YES!” Many feel he should have made the 2010 Olympic squad. Look for him to ignite the American rush in his first Olympic appearance.

Jack Johnson

Age: 26
Columbus Blue Jackets
Indianapolis
Our Take: Captain America returns to lead the U.S. back to the gold-medal game with another four years under his belt. Few have answered their country’s call as often as this tough-as-nails blue liner.

Dustin Byfuglien

Age: 27
Winnipeg Jets
Minneapolis
Our Take: Team USA is going to need some size in Sochi and at 6-foot-5, 265 pounds Byfuglien brings just that. He is also versatile, with the ability to jump up front to play a forward position.

Brooks Orpik

Age: 32
Pittsburgh Penguins
San Francisco
Our Take: Every team needs a grizzled veteran and the physical blue liner. Orpik will fill that role perfectly for the Americans.

John Carlson

Age: 23
Washington Capitals
Natick, Mass. 
Our Take: Team USA’s youngest defenseman will also provide the red, white and blue with a presence along the blue line. The 6-foot-3 Carlson is one of the league’s up and coming defensemen.

Kevin Shattenkirk

Age: 24
St. Louis Blues
Greenwich, Conn.
Our Take: Shattenkirk was tied for the American-lead with five power-play goals last year for the Blues and can possibly team with Jack Johnson to form a talented duo on Team USA’s blue line on the power play.

 

Photos By Images on Ice; Vancouver Canucks
Issue: 
2013-02

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