As challenging as it was to settle on the first 16 players for Team USA's roster at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, general manager Dean Lombardi and his staff did so while aiming at a red and white target.
"The logic of it defines itself," Lombardi said on a conference call Tuesday after revealing the first 16 players on the 23-man roster. "Let's get real here, Canada has always been the mark. I think it's safe to say that they're clearly the favorites and they always are, as they should be. So if we're in it to win this thing, it's not illogical to say you better be prepared to beat them."
Lombardi and U.S. coach John Tortorella feel confident that they're creating a team to do just that.
Twelve players named to the roster Tuesday, including goalie Jonathan Quick, played for the U.S. in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. They are: goalie Jonathan Quick (Kings), defensemen John Carlson (Washington Capitals), Ryan McDonagh (New York Rangers) and Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild), and forwards Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks), Ryan Kesler (Anaheim Ducks), T.J. Oshie (Capitals), Max Pacioretty (Montreal Canadiens), Zach Parise (Wild), Joe Pavelski (San Jose Sharks), Derek Stepan (Rangers) and Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg Jets).
Revenge might be on their minds since they failed to come home from Sochi with a medal after losing 1-0 to Canada in the semifinals and 5-0 to Finland in the bronze-medal game.
"We want to have a better result for some pride," McDonagh said. "We had a lot of confidence rolling in Sochi and all of a sudden you lose, you can't finish the job, and you can't take home any hardware. We need to have more pride than that and show ourselves and show our country what we're all about."
Video: Team USA World Cup of Hockey Jersey Reveal
Among the other four players named were goalies Cory Schneider (New Jersey Devils) and Ben Bishop (Tampa Bay Lightning). Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team North America and Team Russia all named three goalies as well.
Lombardi said the U.S. did it because there was no gray area at the goaltending position and it gave them the chance to keep open a skater's spot for further evaluation before having to name the final seven players by June 1.
The U.S. has three spots left on defense and four for forwards.
"I think we're going to have to do more work leading up to this next group than we ever did up to this point," Lombardi said.
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who didn't make the 2014 Olympic team after plenty of internal debate, was named to the roster. The World Cup will be Byfuglien's first international tournament.
"He's clearly a better player leading up to the World Cup than he was going into picking of the Olympic team back in 2014," Philadelphia Flyers president and assistant GM Paul Holmgren said. "He's trimmed down. He's made more of a commitment. He's become a better pro."
Video: Reactions to Team USA's preliminary World Cup roster
Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader, the fourth newcomer to the roster, was one of the most surprising selections of the 128 players named to the eight World Cup rosters. Abdelkader is 16th in scoring (33 points) among forwards eligible for Team USA. He made the initial roster over two-time Olympic forward Phil Kessel.
"You can say, 'Well why did you leave Bobby Ryan off, or why did you leave Justin Faulk off?'" Lombardi said. "Well, you only have so many slots right now that we were prepared to go to. So it's not just Phil Kessel. We thought Abdelkader clearly should be in the first group."
These first 16 players and the final seven still yet to be named will be tasked with doing something the United States hasn't done on the international stage in two decades: Win a best-on-best tournament.
Twenty years ago, the best the United States had to offer, a group of players who were children of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" team, won gold at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey by defeating Canada in Canada. It was a seismic-shifting win that put USA Hockey back on the map.
The current generation of American players, most of whom remember the '96 World Cup win, haven't had their signature win as of yet.
They were close six years ago in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, where they lost to Canada 3-2 in overtime of the gold-medal game. Quick, Kane, Kesler, Parise and Pavelski were on that team.
Four years later, they experienced disappointment in Sochi. The 2016 World Cup might be the last chance to get it done together.
"That's all you're thinking about," Tortorella said. "This is going to be the best players in the world. They're going to be part of it and the only thing you're thinking about is how you get it done. When this season is over and we have our team picked completely, that's going to be the mindset that we work on as we build toward September."
Video: Parise and Suter talk about Team USA selection
Strength of team: Goaltending. Tortorella can't make a bad choice between Quick, Schneider and Bishop.
Weakness of team: Center depth. This isn't a knock on Kesler, Pavelski and Stepan, but the Americans' center depth is among the weakest in the tournament when compared to the seven other teams, especially Canada, Sweden, Russia and Team North America.
Biggest surprise: Abdelkader. The Red Wings forward wasn't on many, if any at all, prediction lists and is 16th in scoring this season (33 points) among forwards eligible for Team USA.
Biggest omission: Kessel. He has played on the past two Olympic teams and is considered one of the U.S.'s best pure goal scorers, but he's had a challenging first season with the Pittsburgh Penguins after a tough, by his standards, last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has 19 goals and 40 points in 62 games this season. He had 25 goals and 61 points in 82 games last season. Kessel was a point-per-game player from 2012-14.
Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning, G
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings, G
Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils, G
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets, D
John Carlson, Washington Capitals, D
Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers, D
Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild, D
Justin Abdelkader, Detroit Red Wings, F
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks, F
Ryan Kesler, Anaheim Ducks, F
T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals, F
Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens, F
Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild, F
Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks, F
Derek Stepan, New York Rangers, F
Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets, F