2014 US Olympic Hockey Team Roster: Most Exciting American Players to Watch

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 1, 2014

Dec 17, 2013; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise (11) against the Vancouver Canucks at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Canucks 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

The complete roster for the United States men's hockey team is set for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and there is no shortage of world-class players from top to bottom.

Looking to improve off a silver-medal finish in 2010, the U.S. is returning plenty of experience, as its most talented players have emerged as top NHL players over the last four years. Gold will be the expectation for the Americans, as it should be with such a stacked roster.

Here's a look at the full roster for Team USA and the players to watch out for.


U.S. Men's Hockey Roster


Note: roster courtesy of USAHockey.com.

Forwards: David Backes, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, T.J. Oshie, Max Pacioretty, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Paul Stastny, Derek Stepan, James van Riemsdyk and Blake Wheeler. 

Defencemen: John Carlson, Justin Faulk, Cam Fowler, Paul Martin, Ryan McDonagh, Brooks Orpik, Kevin Shattenkirk and Ryan Suter. 

Goaltenders: Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Quick and Ryan Miller.

Coaches: Dan Bylsma, Tony Granato, Peter Laviolette and Todd Richards.

Management: David Poile, Ray Shero, Brian Burke and Jim Johansson.  

Advisory Group: Stan Bowman, Paul Holmgren, Dean Lombardi, Dale Tallon and Don Waddell. 


Most Exciting Players

Patrick Kane

Dec 20, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) skates on the ice during the second period against the Vancouver Canucks at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

In his first Olympic appearance in 2010, 21-year-old Patrick Kane had yet to etch his name on a Stanley Cup but still emerged as one of the tournament's best players. 

He's led his Blackhawks to two Stanley Cups in the four years since. 

Kane is one of the most dangerous forwards in all of the NHL. Whenever he gets the puck on his stick, he can take it the distance through multiple defenders and make goalies look silly. 

Now as a 25-year-old who is soaked with experience, the Blackhawks star will be able to better understand how to get the most out of his teammates and set up goals instead of just out-skilling everyone—which he will still do at times. 

The popular right winger has 23 goals (third in the league) and 53 points (second in the league) so far in 2013-14, so he's obviously peaking at the right time for Team USA. 


Phil Kessel

Dec 29, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Phil Kessel (81) shoots the puck against the Carolina Hurricanes at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

Phil Kessel has suited up for USA since he was 17 years old and was one of many youngsters on the roster for the 2010 Olympics.

Ever since that tournament, Kessel has been on fire.

He only had one season where he surpassed 20 goals before appearing in the 2010 Games, but he topped the 30-goal plateau for three straight years before finishing 2012-13 with 20 goals and 32 assists.

Having a current NHL linemate on the squad could end up reaping benefits for Kessel and Team USA. James van Riemsdyk was also selected to the roster, and the fellow Maple Leafs just might end up on the same line due to their budding chemistry in Toronto this season.

Kessel is one of the most talented scorers and finishers on the USA roster, and the team will need him to be on point in order for gold to be a reality.  


Zach Parise

December 11, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise (11) moves the puck against the defense of Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen (45) during the first period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Parise has already made his value imminent to Team USA, and he'll be one of the leaders of the offense in the 2014 Games.

The 29-year-old was in the midst of a goal-scoring tear in 2010 when he was the New Jersey Devils' star center, and he has since moved to the Minnesota Wild. His scoring went down—only 18 goals and 20 assists in his first season with the Wild—but he's matured as a player and has become more unselfish. 

Parise scored four goals and four assists in six games for Team USA in the 2010 Olympics, and he could prove just as valuable this season if he plays up to his full potential.

Plus, he's in his second season playing with Ryan Suter. The talented defenseman ran the blue line for Team USA in 2010 and saw more ice time than anybody on the roster, so that improved chemistry could further help his ability to impact games.