Over the last few days I’ve been thinking about the mock up rosters of TEAM USA and TEAM Canada for the upcoming Olympic games in Vancouver. We are getting pretty close to the games which are only about 15 1/2 months away, so this up coming year is a big audition not only in the NHL but in the World Championships and other leagues as well for players that are pushing for a spot on the rosters.
Let’s first take a look into a projection roster of Team USA.
Right off the bat we know these 3 are sure shots to make the roster, but I’m not sure exactly where they will play. I put these 3 together on the first line right now because Zach Parise is arguably the best all around American player right now that can really do it all, while Scott Gomez is still the best American playmaker at center as of now.
Erik Cole brings the speed the other two do as well, and he has a goal scorers touch, plus he brings that much needed Olympic experience as well as Gomez.
On my second line I have 3 of probably the top 5 American players right now, if not right now they soon will be. Patrick Kane at left wing draws similarities to Sidney Crosby, but on a smaller scale. He is a tricky playmaker before goal scorer who brings speed. Kane had a good showing last spring at the World Championships along side teammate Jason Pominville who is the right wing on this line. Both players seem to have had some chemistry going.
At center is Paul Stastny who can score goals as well as he sets them up and may well be the best all around American center by time the games come. These 3 are most likely sure shots as well to make the roster.
Now this line may be a little surprising to most, and the player that probably sticks out the most is David Booth as far as a 3rd line player goes on an Olympic roster. However, David is emerging as a great player and will soon start to turn some heads on a regular basis. He brings speed and has great hands (recently seen here) along with some World Championship experience under his belt.
Keith Tkachuk right now is still proving he can play at a high level with his great start in the NHL, and you can’t deny his overall Olympic experience, plus he is really not all that old yet (36 years young), I mean he’s no Chris Chelios.
Phil Kessel on right wing is another player who is really starting to come into his own, which all started back in last spring in the playoffs and then in the World Championships, and now his amazing start to the NHL season. I’m just not sure if Tkachuk can keep up with these guys:)
The 4th line consists of experience for the most part and players who will do the dirty work, and by that I mean play in front of the net, kill penalties, block shots and lay the body.
On the left wing Brian Rolston brings the Olympic experience with a booming shot that will be needed on the power play. Drury also brings the experience, and even though he has not looked great as of recently, he has a history of playing well in big games and in tournaments.
Dustin Brown who is another emerging youngster who led the NHL in hits last season, plus he scored 33 goals. Every team needs a Dustin Brown type of all around player to win.
I’m a believer of putting two offensive minded defensemen together at the top pairing to compliment the top offensive forwards, and we have that here with John Michael Liles and Brian Rafalski.
Liles is a smooth skating puck mover and brings past Olympic experience as well as Rafalski who is also offensive minded but also a great defender at the same time. Most likely both will make the roster.
I like this next pairing in the fact that both have big bodies and both players are not scared to use them, especially Komisarek who is known as a bruiser. Whitney is an offensive defenseman first, but he can also play well in his own zone and be intimidating at times with his overall size. You will most likely see Komisarek on the roster, and as long as Whitney bounces back from his recent injury and returns to form, he should be here as well.
Ryan Suter is one of the great up and coming American defenseman in todays game. Suter is offensive and a defensive minded D-man who is still very young (age 23) and will only grow to become better in the next year and change, and I believe he will make a strong push for the bottom pairing in 2010 considering the recent injury to Erik Johnson who may not be up to par in early 2010 to make the roster.
Joe Corvo is a great puck mover and brings World Championship experience. At age 31, Corvo’s time is nearing to make an Olympic roster as he looks to be breaking into his prime.
1. (G) Ryan Miller
2. (G) Rick Dipietro
This one speaks for itself. Miller has been outstanding and by far the best American goalie as of recently, while Dipietro has been battling injuries. Both players will make the roster, but expect Miller to get the starting job if he keeps playing to his standards.
Dipietro does bring that Olympic experience, so if all goes bad for Miller, the USA squad has a legit backup, not a Robert Esche or John Grahame this time around.
Extras and players on the outside looking in:
Players on the outside looking out: