I was thinking about this the other day, and then I saw some people mention it in the GDT against the Flyers. Personally, I can't wait for the tournament, I know the NHL is having some type of problem I believe with letting their players go, but I'm sure everything will be settled. Team USA boasts an awesome team with lots of speed, skill, and strength. So that has sparked me to write about what I think the roster should look like, who should be on it, and not on it. (YOU BETTER BE READING BRIAN BURKE) Well, here we go with the forwards:
Not too much should change up front, in 2010 most of our forwards were pretty young and some of them are pretty damn good and getting better. Can't see too much of a difference for 2014.
David Backes, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Bobby Ryan, and Paul Stastny all return. Chris Drury and Jamie Langenbrunner obviously won't be on the team by then, and although Ryan Malone is good, there are much better players. To replace them, I go with Jason Pominville, James Van Riemsdyk, and Derek Stepan.
Close calls are TJ Oshie, Max Pacioretty, and Drew Stafford. I feel that Stepan has a higher ceiling than Oshie, and in 2014 could be the better player, but I go with Stepan there, although it was a very very close call because TJ Oshie could also very well be a great and better player, him being a little older as well could mean he is more ahead in his progress. I just don't think him and Stepan will have that much of a difference at the time and I think he would be the better choice. Who knows, maybe I'm just biased.
Now for defense, this is pretty much the exact opposite of the forwards here. I honestly don't expect (or believe) that any of the defensemen, except for Ryan Suter, should be returning.
I shall explain *ahem*. I really don't think Erik or Jack Johnson have become the players that people expected them to be, I think with all the young talent for USA that they can easily be replaced. Say that Byfuglien and Carlson take their spots. Mike Komisarek should not be on the team, replaced by Yandle. Brooks Orpik is a good defenseman, but I think he can also be replaced with his shut down role, say Ryan McDonagh, who is a much better skater and also better offensive upside. Brian Rafalski can be replaced with Kevin Shattenkirk (should he continue to become a better player). Paul Martin is still a very good defenseman, I just don't see him having the talent as much as the younger kids do, who have a higher ceiling, I say put Nick Leddy in his place.
Close calls for defense are Tyler Myers (unless he can go back to how he was playing in his rookie season, then count him on the team), Erik Johnson, Paul Martin, Matt Carle, and Zach Bogosian (who ismuch improved this year, I might add)
So hopefully the American defenseman can raise their game to their expectations by this time of year. I feel that McDonagh will no doubt be a top shut down defenseman, as well as John Carlson who is probably already one. Shattenkirk and Leddy are having good years, I expect them to get better and at this point could very well round out the defense for USA. You could make an argument to take one of them off and replace them with a more defensive minded player, but I think by this time they'll able to handle the world's best. If not then I say bring in EJ, Myers, or Carle for defensive stability. Oh by the way, Jack Johnson's horrible defense shouldn't be representing Team USA again.
And now for the goalies. This is a relatively easy decision. No doubt Ryan Miller comes back, but who as the back ups? Well the last back ups were Tim Thomas and Jonathan Quick. And while Thomas is a great goalie right now, I don't see Burke taking Thomas this time around because of his age and different goaltending style.
Close calls are Jonathan Quick and Tim Thomas....maybe Jack Campbell? Highly doubt that. Deciding between Howard and Quick was tough, I say both have around the same amount of talent. They're both good goalies, but not great and I give the edge to Howard just....because. And Cory Schneider could very well be the next American great in terms of goalies.
Well this is my 2014 Team USA team (subject to change), I feel this team could seriously contend for the gold again, they still have the youth and they do have elite players.
Thoughts on this everybody? Maybe some line combos or something?