WOODRIDGE, Ill. – General manager Brian Burke says there are 14 players who are considered safe bets to make the U.S. men’s hockey team for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but didn’t name them as their summer orientation camp closed on Wednesday. The rest will have to battle for spots on the 23-man roster that is to be announced on Dec. 31.
Here’s a look at who we see as the top candidates:
Ryan Miller, goaltender, Buffalo: A top-flight goalie whose omission from the 2006 team was probably a mistake.
Tim Thomas, goaltender, Boston: A 35-year-old late bloomer who is coming off a Vezina Trophy season.
Jonathan Quick, goaltender, Los Angeles: Why not get Olympic experience for a goaltender of the future?
Brian Rafalski, defence, Detroit: A top puck-moving defenceman and potential captain.
Rob Scuderi, defence, Pittsburgh: A first pair defender for the Stanley Cup champs.
Paul Martin, defence, New Jersey: Strong two-way player.
Ryan Suter, defence, Nashville: Gifted young player with U.S. Olympic bloodlines.
Erik Johnson, defence, St. Louis: Six-foot-four with skill.
Mike Komisarek, defence, Toronto: Burke likes his size, shot-blocking and physical side.
Brooks Orpik, defence, Pittsburgh: Plays with a mean streak.
Tom Gilbert, defence, Edmonton: Strong puck-moving blue-liner.
Zach Parise, forward, New Jersey: Dynamic scorer and playmaker.
Patrick Kane, forward, Chicago: Their top young talent.
Paul Stastny, forward, Colorado: Skilled playmaker spent camp finding chemistry with Kane.
Mike Modano, forward, Dallas: Only holdover from old days brings experience and versatility.
David Backes, forward, St. Louis: Big, physical, can play centre or wing and can score.
Dustin Brown, forward, Los Angeles: Energetic and physical winger.
Ryan Kesler, forward, Vancouver: Big winger and agitator
Ryan Malone, forward, Tampa Bay: Brings size and can play on a scoring line.
Chris Drury, forward, New York Rangers: Two-way centre with experience.
Scott Gomez, forward, Montreal: Play-making centre must have good start to NHL season to make the team.
David Booth, forward, Florida: Fast and has a scoring touch, but inexperienced.
Ryan Callahan, forward, Rangers: Hard-working checking winger who will know his role.