U.S. roster projection: Lacking true No. 1 center

Tuesday, 11.26.2013 / 3:00 AM
Dan Rosen  - NHL.com Senior Writer

The United States is loaded on the wings, but it doesn't have a true No. 1 center. Kesler or Backes can be that guy, especially because of the wingers that coach Dan Bylsma has at his disposal. When you factor in Pavelski and Stepan, the U.S. has enviable depth up front and shouldn't have to worry about putting a compromised line on the ice.

The big question here is who makes it as the 13th and 14th forwards. Oshie belongs because of the gritty game he plays, and Stastny gets the nod over Montreal Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk because he's a safer, more experienced option to play center. Stastny is probably the Americans' second best faceoff guy after Pavelski.

Galchenyuk, Blake Wheeler, Jason Pominville, Kyle Okposo and Brandon Saad all deserve consideration from the U.S. executive staff.

The notable defenseman left off this roster is Jack Johnson. It's a difficult omission.

Odds are USA general manager David Poile selects the Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman, but among right-handed defenseman, Byfuglien, Shattenkirk, Erik Johnson and Carlson are having better seasons. Of the four left-handed defensemen that made it, Martin might bring about the most debate, but he's turned himself into a reliable shutdown guy for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Quick is currently out of the lineup with a grade-2 groin strain. However, Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi estimates that Quick will be able to return by Christmas, which would give him enough time to get his game in order before going to Sochi. Miller, though, would have to be considered the No. 1 goalie at the present time.

Schneider gets the nod over Ben Bishop, Jimmy Howard, Tim Thomas and Craig Anderson because of the consistency he has shown with the New Jersey Devils despite very little offensive support.


Zach Parise - Ryan Kesler - Patrick Kane

James van Riemsdyk - David Backes - Phil Kessel

Max Pacioretty - Joe Pavelski - Bobby Ryan

Dustin Brown - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan

T.J. Oshie, Paul Stastny


Ryan Suter - Dustin Byfuglien

Ryan McDonagh - Kevin Shattenkirk

Keith Yandle - Erik Johnson

Paul Martin - John Carlson


Ryan Miller

Jonathan Quick

Cory Schneider

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