2014 Winter Olympics: Who From The New York Rangers Will Team USA Target?
So we already know the players are going to the Olympics, but which Rangers will be representing team USA?
The NHL finalized an agreement last week that will send their players to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
There are a bunch of New York Rangers who are most likely going to be heading to Mother Russia, mainly guys like Henrik Lundqvist (Sweden), Rick Nash (Canada) and Mats Zuccarello (he's a lock because of how weak the Norwegian team is) if he's signed, of course.
There are other players who are probably locks as well. Ryan Callahan and Ryan McDonagh are about as close to a sure thing as you can get in terms of making Team USA. You would have to assume that Derek Stepan is in that category as well.
Others seem to agree, including Puck Daddy's Ryan Lambert who actually has Stepan replacing Brandon Dubinsky in his mock team. From his story:
In the almost-full season and playoffs since the last projected roster was published, I've really only seen one change that I needed to make to the group of 14 forwards USA Hockey will send to Sochi. That, though, one the New York Rangers already made.
It's Derek Stepan, he of the 44-point, 18-goal season in for Brandon Dubinsky, whose possession stats and bad luck don't make up for the fact that he has 12 goals in his last 108 games.
However, following the monster season Paul Stastny put up from a possession standpoint, along with a perfectly-acceptable points total, on an awful Colorado team for which he faced the best competition every night, there's no way I can make Stepan the preferred fourth-line center. So let's just leave Stepan there on a provisional basis. He can absolutely steal a job from anyone here (Ryan Kesler, I'm looking at you), but I'd like to see another half-season from Stepan to make sure he can continue scoring at a 30-goal pace.
Lambert also thinks McDonagh is good enough to be part of the second pairing:
I caught a lot of flak on the previous list for including Brooks Orpik over Ryan McDonagh in particular, but I will say that I did so wanting to see if his incredible sophomore season was for real. It was. He not only replaces Brooks Orpik on the team, but also supplants Justin Faulk, who still had a very good season on a very bad Carolina team, and Dustin Byfuglien.
I don't think you would be breaking any ground in making the summations I did above. Lambert seems to agree with me (or maybe I agree with him since he wrote his story first).
There will be plenty of time to go more in depth on this later, but what do you guys think? Who do you see team USA targeting on the Rangers?