Since we are at the forefront of international competition with the World Juniors, I've been inspired to look forward to Vancouver in 2010. So, without further delay, the following is my prediction for the 2010 USA Olympic Hockey Roster:
(Player / Position / Height / Weight / Age in 2010 / Current NHL Team / Hometown)
Dustin Brown RW 6-0 205, 25 (LAK, Itacha, NY)
Chris Drury C 5-10 200, 33 (NYR, Trumbull, CT)
Brian Gionta RW 5-7 175, 31 (NJD, Rochester, NY)
Scott Gomez C 5-11 200, 30 (NYR, Anchorage, AK)
Bill Guerin RW 6-2 220, 39 (NYI, Wilbraham, MA)
Patrick Kane RW, 5-10 170, 21 (CHI, Buffalo, NY)
Mike Knuble RW 6-3 230, 37 (PHI, Toronto, ON [Dual Citizen])
Mike Modano C, 6-3 205 39 (DAL, Livonia, MI)
Zach Parise LW 5-11 190, 25 (NJD, Minneapolis, MN).
Brian Rolston LW 6-2 214, 36 (NJD, Flint, MI)
Paul Stastny C 6-0 205, 24 (COL, Quebec, PQ [Dual Citizen])
Keith Tkachuk LW 6-2 232, 37 (STL, Medford, MA)
Doug Weight C 5-11 196, 39 (NYI, Detroit, MI)
Phil Kessel RW 6-0 192, 22 (BOS, Madison, WI)
Jeremy Roenick C 6-1 205, 40 (SJS, Boston, MA)
Joe Corvo 6-0 204, 32 (CAR, Oak Park, IL)
Erik Johnson 6-4 219, 21 (STL, Bloomington, MN)
Jack Johnson 6-1 212, 23 (LAK, Indianapolis, IN)
John-Michael Liles 5-10 185, 29 (COL, Indiannapolis, IN)
Brian Rafalski 5-10 200, 36 (DET, Dearborn, MI)
Matthieu Schneider 5-10, 185, 40 (ATL, New York, NY)
Ryan Whitney 6-4 219, 26 (PIT, Boston, MA)
Matt Carle 6-0 205, 25 (PHI, Anchorage, AK)
Alex Goligoski 6-0 187, 24 (PIT, Grand Rapids, MN)
Rick DiPietro 6-1 210, 28 (NYI, Winthrop, MA)
Ryan Miller 6-2, 175, 29 (BUF, East Lansing, MI)
Tim Thomas 5-11, 201, 35 (BOS, Flint, MI)
Criag Anderson 6-2 180, 28 (FLA, Park Ridge, IL)
Brian Boucher 6-2 200, 33 (SJS, Woonsocket, RI)
The most talented scorer on this roster is Phil Kessel, but I don't see him being favored over any of the other members. It should be pointed out that a large part of his current success is due to the fact that he is currently skating with possibly the best playmaker in the game right now, Marc Savard.
Either Bill Guerin or Mike Modano will replace Chris Chelios as the team Captain.
I could easily see the team implementing a rotating goaltender system, as there is not a clear cut favorite among the three.
Not Returning from 2006 but still currently active in the NHL are:
Chris Chelios—he'll be 47—I'd say at this point he'll be an alternate reserve, if there is such a thing.
Derian Hatcher. He's technically active, though he's on the IR. Speculation that he'll retire.
Jordan Leopold. Simply does not make this team. Replaced by young talent.
Bret Hedican. See above. Also he is past his prime.
Jason Blake. See Leopold, Jordan.
Eric Cole. Ditto.
Craig Conroy. Wow. The U.S. is finally putting together a more respectable roster.
Mark Parrish. Has already been a healthy scratch a few times this year.
Matt Cullen (R). On the fence, but has not been spectacular in Carolina this year.
Paul Martin (R). Also on the bubble, but is most likely replaced by Jack or Erik Johnson.
Possible Line Combinations:
These lines are actually pretty formidable, especially in comparison to recent U.S. International teams. You can bet your sweet tucas that Parise would bury a few skating with Gomez and Kane.
Look for the next U.S. team to make some waves, whoever ends up on it.
Please weigh in with your opinions!