December is upon us and we’ve already scouted out the defensemen and goalies that we would select for the Team USA roster. Today, we focus in on the forwards and narrow our view to only 12. Later this week, we’ll begin pairing lines, and looking at those on the top four lines.
1. Patrick Kane
Quick Thought: Right now no one, American or other, is playing better hockey than Patrick Kane.
2. Joe Pavelski
Quick Thought: Nearly a point per game guy, Pavelski also brings versatility to the table. I put him in the middle but he can score on the wing as well.
3. Blake Wheeler
Quick Thought: USA fans may not know how good he is….yet. Come next September they will.
4. Max Pacioretty
Quick Thought: Uncertainty surrounded his health to start the season, but it hasn’t slowed Pacioretty to this point.
5. Bobby Ryan
Quick Thought: Ryan is proving the USA decision makers wrong for leaving him off of the 2014 team.
6. Zach Parise
Quick Thought: The Captain at #6? Injuries have slowed him a bit this season. No worries, he will make the team and as Nate previously wrote on the site, Parise will wear the “C” once more.
7. Phil Kessel
Quick Thought: His numbers at the end of the year will likely be more impressive than his current projections. He still is a premier scorer on any team.
8. Derek Stepan
Quick Thought: He is going to miss some time and the Rangers will feel his absence. That will let the rest of know how good Stepan is.
9. Tyler Johnson
Quick Thought: His postseason in 2015 was Conn Smythe worthy, but he hasn’t followed that up with the kind of season Team USA had hoped for.
10. David Backes
Quick Thought: While not a scoring machine his size alone keeps him on the list. Backes won’t do anything spectacular, but he won’t do anything stupid either.
11. Kyle Okposo
Quick Thought: Was off to a good start, but has slowed recently. I still like his skill set for this team.
12. Ryan Callahan
Quick Thought: As stated before, you want a guy like this on your team. Unfortunately, Callahan is in danger of losing a spot.