Breaking Down the Top Candidates for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team

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Breaking Down the Top Candidates for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Of the 23 players who won a silver medal for the United States men’s hockey team in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, 14 will still be in their 20s when next Olympic tournament is conducted next year in Sochi, Russia.

All of those 14 Americans, along with a sprinkling of 30-somethings, are credible candidates to return. That is, of course, if the NHL lets them, a prerequisite that remains an uncertainty.

There will be at least two slots open for skaters, though, as defenseman Brian Rafalski and forward Chris Drury both retired in 2011. Based on the direction their game has taken, a few other 2010 Olympians are difficult to envision playing in the 2014 tournament.

But there should be a surplus of suitable replacements with the concomitant emergence of a few players who made international headlines of their own in 2010 with a World Junior gold medal for the U.S.

There are a few others who have matured their game to a can’t-miss status for when the time comes to assemble a nation’s best, most useful talent available. They were afterthoughts at the time of the last Olympics, but will more likely serve as stunners if they are not selected to the 2014 roster.

Assuming the NHL commits to sending its players to the Sochi Games, here are the top five candidates for a roster spot in each position from goal to left and right defense to center to left and right wing.

Unless otherwise indicated, all stats and information for this slideshow were found via nhl.com and are through games of Monday, March 4.

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