Over the next few days, The Brew Line Report will feature trending reports on the Americans best positioned to make the World Cup of Hockey roster. This will be a monthly feature. The following will be taken into consideration for our rankings. Note the weight of decision is ranked from most important to least. Those are:
- Current performance
- Style of play
- Previous performance (both NHL and International)
One of the issues taken away from the selection of the 2014 Olympic roster was the rationale behind choosing some players over others. The name that caused the greatest amount of controversy was Bobby Ryan, who of course was left off the roster by then Team USA GM Dave Poile. Poile said this to ESPN’s Scott Burnside:
High-scoring Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson, a fixture on U.S. international teams dating to his teens, were both left off the U.S. roster, as other players saw their stock rise significantly during the first half of the NHL season.
“We did not pick the 25 best players,” general manager David Poile said. “We picked the 25 players we thought gave us a chance to win the gold medal.”
The Oshie decision looked brilliant after he took down Team Russia singlehandedly in the shootout, propelling the United States into tournament play. However, many wondered if a Yandle, Johnson, or Ryan would have made a difference in the 1-0 suffocation at the hands of Team Canada.
In our case, we’re looking for the best players. We get the logic behind it, and can certainly defend the homage to Herb Brooks. But missing those best players ended up biting the Americans in the rear when they faced the best, namely Canada. Finland made a mockery of our boys in the Red, White, and Blue–thanks in large part to the penalty box parade with Dustin Brown playing Grand Marshall.
Here’s the schedule for BLR’s November Reports:
Thursday – Top 5 American Goalies
Friday – Top 10 American Defensemen
Saturday – Top 15 American Forwards
For a teaser, here are who we have as the top 3, ordered as the top in their respective place on the ice.
Forward: Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks
This is about his on-ice performance, and we certainly do not want to trivialize or sensationalize the off the ice matter. However, there is no denying the importance Kane plays in the American game. He’s been dynamic on international ice both in 2010 and 2014, though held off the goal sheet in 2014. But “Showtime” delivers in the clutch. Three Stanley Cup wins and a Conn Smythe Trophy attest to that.
Defense: Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild
It’s not even close. There’s a reason he was the most coveted free agent in hockey during the 2012 offseason, and his numbers and play have warranted the money paid and the hype involved. If it were up to these writers, it would be Suter wearing the C for the Red, White, and Blue.
Goaltending: Jonathan Quick – Los Angeles Kings
History puts him here. A two-time Stanley Cup Champion, Conn Smythe Winner, and Olympic standout, Quick is the best American goalie on ice right now. Quick’s play helped the Kings turn around their early struggles. While his .918 save percentage is in the top 20 of the league for now, it’s the clutch factor that places Quick above the rest. In the 1-0 loss to Canada, it was the sharp Quick that kept the Americans in a game they should have been blown out of.