With the 2014 Winter Olympics are quickly approaching, (and who knows, it may be the next real hockey we see), it’s time to look at the Blues players who have a shot at playing in Sochi.
David Backes, USA
As the second line center on the silver-medal winning squad in 2010, David Backes is a sure-fire selection for the 2014 American team. He will be one of the many returning players from Vancouver, where almost 90 percent of the team was 25 or younger.
T.J. Oshie, USA
Oshie was an alternate on the US team in Vancouver, and was on the cusp of making the roster. He has clearly elevated his game in the past two years, and with the departure of Chris Drury and Mark Malone(probably), there should be ample room for Oshie to get on the ice.
David Perron, Canada
Although the Canadian team is stacked with talent up front, Perron still has a chance to make the roster. He is a sharpshooter on the power play and could be a good forth-liner for Canada, who is looking to win their third consecutive gold medal in Sochi. If there are any injuries among the Canadian wingers, look for Perron to step in.
Alex Pietrangelo, Canada
With the Canadian defense clearly lacking depth in Vancouver, Pietrangelo would be an obvious addition to the roster. The Norris Trophy finalist had his best season in the NHL last year, and is the kind of two way defenseman that would complement the great scorers on the Canadian squad. You can pencil him into the lineup alongside either Drew Doughty or Shea Weber.
Kevin Shattenkirk, USA
The 22 year-old Shattenkirk had a career year paired with Pietrangelo last season, posting 43 points and a 21:30 ATOI. The door is definitely open for Shattenkirk to make the American squad, as Brian Rafalski, Paul Martin and Mike Komasarek all won’t make the 2014 team. Shattenkirk could get paired up with Brian Scuderi or Alex Goligoski.
Vladimir Tarasenko, Russia
Although we have not seen Tarasenko play on American soil, the 19 year-old phenom was widely hailed in the KHL for his offensive skill. With the Russians desperately trying to regain prestige after a disappointing bronze medal in 2010, they may bring on some young blood to revitalize the squad. Although Vladdy would not get a lot of ice time, he could make the roster if he has a good camp or injuries fall the right way for him.
Jaroslav Halak, Slovakia
As the starting goaltender for Slovakia in Vancouver, you have to think he will retain that role with the way Halak has played for St. Louis. Look for his numbers to improve as he continues to gel with his relatively young squad, but do not expect Slovakia to contend for a medal.