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Columnist predicts 2014 U.S. Olympic team

Jun 2, 2012, 9:36 PM EDT

Ryan Miller Getty Images

It’s never too early to start thinking about the Winter Olympics, especially if you’re a fan of Team USA. They managed to surprise a lot of people by winning the silver medal in 2010. Can they do one better in 20 months?

Washington Times writer Stephen Whyno offered up his early picks for the 2014 Olympic Games. While these are obviously subject to change – the NHL hasn’t even committed to playing in the Olympics yet – it does provide us with a fair idea of where they stand.

Goaltenders

This is probably Team USA’s greatest strength. Jonathan Quick and Ryan Miller headline the list, but Corey Schneider might also make the team if he’s settled into a starting role by then.

One interesting X-factor is Tim Thomas. He isn’t sure if he wants to play for Boston next season, but he wants to play in the Olympics. If he doesn’t play in the NHL in 2012-13, then it’s hard to see them picking him over some of the other fine choices they’ll have. But what if the NHL decides not to participate in the Winter Olympics? Would Tim Thomas stay out of the league and in the hopes that he could be the veteran leader in the Olympics? It sounds far-fetched, but can you really put anything by Thomas at this point?

Defensemen

Ryan Suter, Jack Johnson, Kevin Shattenkirk, and John Carlson might end up as their top-four defensemen. Beyond that, they got plenty of good choices, such as Brooks Orpik, Ryan McDonagh, Tim Gleason, Dustin Byfuglien, and Keith Yandle.

Erik Johnson is coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons, but he certainly has the potential to turn his career around and if he does, he might make the squad.

Forwards

They’re not going to match a team like Canada in terms of raw offensive power, but they will have some excellent all-around players like Ryan Callahan, Dustin Brown, David Backes, and, if he bounces back from a rough 2011-12 campaign, Brandon Dubinsky. Throw in Zach Parise, Patrick Kane, and Bobby Ryan and Team USA should have a very serviceable core of forwards.

James van Riemsdyk is certainly someone to keep in mind. He didn’t have the breakout season that everyone expected of him, but of course, there’s still plenty of time before the Olympics.

Think anyone got snubbed from the list? Is there anyone flying under the radar right now that you think will break out in time for Olympic consideration?

  1. ryantshannon - Jun 2, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    If Colin Wilson (F-NSH) reaches his full potential in the next couple of seasons, he could be a candidate to make the team.

  2. grimlock410 - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    From what I saw of Chris Kreider against my Caps he looks like he could be very good very soon.

    • bdfools - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:14 PM

      I think Kreider has a good chance to make the team. He was huge part of the US team that won the World Juniors gold medal two years ago, so he has international experience (and success).

      • lordfletcher - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:19 PM

        so was Charlie Coyle but I don’t think he will see enough ice time to solidify a roster spot for 2014…

        2018 should be a great year for USA Olympic hockey. Kreider / Coyle / Glachenyuk / Trouba and plenty of others, and the veterans

  3. highlander24 - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    USA USA USA!!!

  4. sjawesome - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    How about phil kessel, ryan kesler, joe pavelski, cam fowler, maybe even Chris krieder

  5. nobody29 - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:13 PM

    Mmmm….Paul Stastny

  6. bensawesomeness - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    No love for Jimmy Howard? It can happen…

  7. capsrockva - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    I am also surprised that Jimmy Howard wasn’t on the goalie list

    • jimw81 - Jun 2, 2012 at 11:22 PM

      I’ll take Jimmy Howard over Tim Thomas any hour of a day

    • itsallniceonice - Jun 3, 2012 at 12:16 AM

      It’s hard to say if Howard will make the cut. Thomas is completely out of the picture, he doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell to make it. Howard’s chance hinges on Miller. Great goalie but has really slowed down over the past few years (which certainly could be attributed to Buffalo’s play recently). If the USA decides to keep a veteran presence it could only be Miller at this point. If that holds true, Quick/Miller vying for starter, then you ideally want to drag along someone for experience (a la Quick 2010). Howard has the starts, but Schneider has the potential and a slight age advantage.

      That being said I would love a Quick, Howard, Schneider Hockey East trifecta representing Team USA in 2014! I hope as 2014 approaches and Team USA is announced people start giving credit to the rising developmental power of NCAA hockey over the last decade or so.

  8. pshanks62 - Jun 2, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    Jim Howard

  9. murtdurt - Jun 3, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    Who cares. Everyone knows Canada’s winning it…again

  10. eli2tyree4 - Jun 3, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    Um, Mcdonagh is a lock.

    On Defense I would go Suter, Mcdonagh, Carlson, Yandle, Byfuglien, Eric Johnson, and Fowler.
    Forward: Kesler, Parise, Kane, Kessel, Stastny, Bobby Ryan, David Backes, Callahan, Pavelski, Van Riemsdyk, Pacioretty, Oshie, Dubinsky

  11. mydadyourmom - Jun 3, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Sid Giroux Stammer. Tourney over.

  12. dicknh - Jun 3, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    Tim Thomas does not deserve to represent the U.S. in Olympic competition or any other competition, having thrown his fans and teammates under the bus by breaking his contractual obligations, sitting out next season, leaving the Bruins with a substantial salary cap hit. He says it’s for “friends, family, and faith”, but then promotes his commercial business ties in the same breath. TT is a fraud.

  13. pfpmb - Jun 6, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    Winnipeg Jets defenceman Zach Bogosian is a guy to keep an eye on for Team USA. Big, strong 2 way D-man who can move the puck and has a heavy shot. He has the potential to be as good if not better than Shea Weber.

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