The next stop I make for my Sochi 2014 team previews is Team USA. After a heartbreaking loss in the finals at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, Team USA will look to come back stronger and with a chip on their shoulder. Team USA will look to use their experience from the previous Olympics to their advantage. Finding themselves in a somewhat difficult group, USA will advance out of the round robin and head deep into the tournament. With a mix of scoring, size and experience, USA will be in the finals of the tournament, and here is their projected lineup.
From a pure goal scoring perspective, USA may have the best team in the whole Olympics. Names among the likes of Phil Kessel, Zach Parise and Bobby Ryan come to mind. Aside from goal scoring, size and toughness is a huge asset for Team USA. Things can change and although it is early on, here are my predictions for Team USA’s forwards:
As you can see, USA has the ideal mix of scoring, playmaking, size and speed with this group of forwards. There is no doubt in my mind that Team USA has the most talented group of forwards in the tournament, and will be a legitimate contender for the Gold medal.
Led by veteran Dman Ryan Suter, Team USA will have no shortage of offense when it comes to their defensive group. With only two returning Dman from Vancouver 2010, Team USA has lots of young talent on the back end. Here is what their projected defensive group looks like:
With so much youth and skill that USA has on the blue line, it will be difficult to not only generate scoring opportunities for opponents, but also to keep the puck out of their net on the power play. With great puck movers and offensive weapons on the back end, Team USA will have one of the best defensive groups, which is why they will be in contention for the Gold Medal.
There will be no shortage of competition in the goaltending department for Team USA. Some tough decisions will be made for the coaching staff as they will have to decide to choose between youth or experience. Here are my predictions for Team USA goaltending:
With Jimmy Howard in the prime of his career, he will find himself getting the start for Team USA in Sochi come this February. USA keeps a little bit of experience in Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick, and will have one of the deepest group of goalies in the Olympics.
Experience will play a key role for Team USA in Sochi. With such a variety of size, speed, scoring and playmaking, Team USA will be in serious contention for the Gold Medal. Team USA will be playing with a chip on their shoulder throughout the entire tournament and ultimately I believe they will be in the Gold Medal game come the conclusion of the Olympics.