So there was quite a bit of anger on many USA hockey fans minds when they heard about the Team USA roster that will be heading to Socchi. When I first learned of the roster I was a little bit disappointed myself, but I decided to take a step back and maybe think it over again.
I’ve still come to the same conclusion though. Bobby Ryan and Keith Yandle should be on that roster.
Let’s begin with Bobby Ryan. He currently has 36 points in this NHL season and is on his way to another 30 goal year. 30 goal seasons aren’t new for Ryan, and in fact they are quite normal when he plays a full season or close to it. I’m willing to completely disregard his last season with the Senators because of the lockout, and because he was coming to a new team which is always hard.
We know he’s consistent. We know he’s a game breaker. Yet he isn’t going to Socchi. I, personally, would have taken him over Blake Wheeler. I like Wheeler as a player, but he doesn’t bring anything David Backes, Ryan Callahan, Dustin Brown, and Joe Pavelski already don’t.
I also don’t buy the argument of “Where does he fit in the lineup?”. Bring him as an extra forward in case of injuries if you don’t play him. This isn’t an NHL roster where leaving him in the press box is a sin.
I, personally, think Brian Burke never wanted Ryan on the team from day one but that’s another story.
Now a look at Keith Yandle. Playing five on five Yandle is a fine player, and an offensive producing talent, and that’s something I don’t think anyone can ignore when looking at the Team USA defense. There are many good puck movers on defense, but they are lacking a shooter. Yandle is that left-handed shooter they are missing.
Brooks Orpik should not be on this roster. He’s a bit older than he was in 2010, and his skating can, and most likely will, be a liability if he plays. He’s just not fast enough for the international ice surface.
Other than leaving out Yandle and Ryan I think the roster is fine and about as good as it could be. They’ll be able to challenge for gold again so long as the players know their roles and play to them.
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