Odds for Every Player on USA's Preliminary Olympic Roster to Make Final Cut

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IJuly 24, 2013

Odds for Every Player on USA's Preliminary Olympic Roster to Make Final Cut

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    The United States will be one of the gold medal favorites at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, but there are still several roster spots up for grabs before the final team is announced during the 2013-14 NHL season.

    Nashville Predators general manager David Poile, who has been given the task of building the next American squad, has a lot of quality young players to choose from when determining which bottom-six forwards and third-pairing defensemen will make the team.

    Let's look at the odds that each player invited to the United States Olympic camp has of making the 2014 roster.

Guaranteed Locks

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    Guaranteed Locks

    PlayerPosition
    Jonathan QuickGoalie
    Ryan MillerGoalie
    Patrick KaneRight Wing
    Ryan KeslerCenter
    Zach PariseLeft Wing
    Bobby RyanLeft Wing
    Phil KesselRight Wing
    Joe PavelskiCenter
    Derek StepanCenter
    Ryan SuterDefense
    Keith YandleDefense
    Ryan McDonaghDefense

    The United States has quite a few players who are locks to make the final roster if healthy when it's time to travel to Sochi.

    Quick and Miller are the clear favorites at the goaltender position and will compete for the starting job with their NHL performance through January.

    At forward, there are several players guaranteed a spot. Kane, Parise, Ryan and Kessel are four of the world's best wingers and will likely shoulder a good portion of the scoring burden at the Olympics. Kesler, Pavelski and Stepan will make the team given the United States' lack of depth and elite talent at the center position.

    On the blue line, veterans Ryan Suter and Keith Yandle are locks because of their experience, impressive offensive talents and puck-moving skills. McDonagh is Team USA's best defensive player and should feature in the team's shutdown pairing that will play against the opposing teams' best forwards.

Likely Picks

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    Likely Picks

    PlayerPositionOdds to Make Team
    Ryan CallahanRight Wing95%
    Dustin BrownRight Wing95%
    David BackesCenter90%
    James van RiemsdykLeft Wing85%
    Max PaciorettyLeft Wing85%
    Jack JohnsonDefense80%
    Kevin ShattenkirkDefense80%
    Jimmy HowardGoalie70%

    In the likely event that the identity of the next United States Olympic team is what it was in 2010 (hard-working, defense-first, physical style of hockey), expect two-way forwards such as Callahan, Backes and Brown to easily make the team. These three players are all captains for their NHL teams and will bring strong leadership to the Olympics.

    Two other forwards with impressive two-way skill sets are van Riemsdyk and Pacioretty. These young players are quickly becoming two of the best American forwards in the NHL.

    On the blue line, Shattenkirk and Johnson are safe bets to make the team because their strong skating ability, speed and puck-moving skills make them ideal defensemen for an Olympic-sized ice sheet that is larger than what's found in the NHL. Johnson also has experience from the 2010 Olympics.

    Between the pipes, Howard is the leading candidate to be the third goalie, and a strong start to the season could elevate him to a backup role. He was mightily impressive for the Red Wings last year and could reach elite status in 2013-14.

On the Bubble

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    On the Bubble

    PlayerPositionOdds to Make Team
    Cory SchneiderGoalie70%
    Craig AndersonGoalie65%
    Alex GalchenyukCenter65%
    Brooks OrpikDefense65%
    Zach BogosianDefense60%
    Kyle OkposoRight Wing60%
    Paul MartinDefense55%
    Paul StastnyCenter50%
    Dustin ByfuglienDefense50%
    T.J. OshieRight Wing45%
    John CarlsonDefense45%
    Justin FaulkDefense40%
    Jake GardinerDefense40%

    The battle between Schneider and Anderson to determine the third goalie on the team should be a very close one. Both are exceptional talents, but as a backup, it will be interesting to see if Schneider gets enough playing time with the Devils to build a case strong enough to beat out Anderson.

    At forward, Galchenyuk will likely make the team because Team USA is thin at center, plus the Canadiens star can offer some valuable versatility with his ability to excel as a winger.

    Stastny was an integral part of the 2010 squad as a top-six center, but you could make the case that he's regressed as a player since that time. He's not the point-per-game kind of forward many expected the Avalanche center to become at this point in his career.

    The other players with a decent chance to make the final team are Okposo, Byfuglien and Oshie, all of whom bring offensive skill and experience to the ice.

    The United States will take the best team possible to Sochi, which should serve as motivation for players who feel they are on the bubble. The best way for the "on the bubble" players to make the final roster is to perform at a high level in the NHL during the first half of the season.

Longshots

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    Longshots

    PlayerPositionOdds to Make Team
    Blake WheelerRight Wing35%
    Brandon SaadLeft Wing30%
    Dan DeKeyserDefense30%
    Nick LeddyDefense20%
    Erik JohnsonDefense15%
    Cam FowlerDefense15%
    Beau BennettRight Wing15%
    Seth JonesDefense10%
    Jacob TroubaDefense10%
    Justin AbdelkaderLeft Wing5%
    Kyle PalmieriRight Wing0%
    Trevor LewisCenter0%
    John GibsonGoalie0%
    Nick BjugstadCenter0%
    Craig SmithCenter0%

    The United States, unlike Canada, decided to invite a lot of young players to the Olympic camp, several of whom have very little or no NHL experience. These rookies don't have much of a chance to make the final roster, but the experience they will gain by being around the veterans and coaches will be valuable and help prepare them for future international tournaments.

    Of all the players on the longshots list, the four players with any sort of chance to make the team are Wheeler, Saad, DeKeyser and Leddy.

    Wheeler and Saad are two-way wingers with the ability to score goals against quality opponents, while DeKeyser and Leddy are two young defensemen developing at a rapid pace. DeKeyser's size and strength makes him an ideal option to replace a veteran who is injured and cannot play in Sochi.

    All of these players need a fantastic 2013-14 NHL season to convince Poile that they deserve a spot on the final roster.

     

    Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. He was also a credentialed writer at the 2011 and 2013 Stanley Cup Final, as well as the 2013 NHL draft.