As the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are fast approaching, this is the first post in a series of posts discussing which Sharks players are eligible for what team, and who has a chance at playing in Sochi. This article will focus on Team USA.
There are many Sharks who were born in the United States, and therefore qualify to be on Team USA. On the team, forwards Mike Brown, Adam Burish, John McCarthy, Joe Pavelski, and Tommy Wingels all qualify to be on Team USA. In addition to these forwards, defenseman Justin Braun and Goaltender Alex Stalock were also born in the US.
As shown above, Joe Pavelski played for Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and is the most likely of any of the Sharks mentioned above to play for Team USA in 2014. It would be hard to imagine Team USA without Joe Pavelski.
Its difficult to say who else from the Sharks will be able to play in Sochi, as Team USA has many skilled players contending for spots in Sochi. With players like Zach Parise, Patrick Kane, and David Backes all vying for forward spots, there won’t be many Sharks forwards on Team USA. In addition to Joe Pavelski, the only other Shark forward that I could see making Team USA would be Tommy Wingels, but his chances are almost none. As Wingels career progresses, I definitely believe he will make Team USA at some point, but I don’t think his chances are great this year.
Along with talented forwards, Team USA has many strong defensive candidates too, like Brooks Orpik and Ryan Suter. Despite this, Justin Braun may have a chance to make Team USA, but like Tommy Wingels, Justin Braun’s chances aren’t great. In my opinion, Braun still needs to develop before he will be able to play in the Olympics. Currently, I believe Braun isn’t fundamentally strong enough to be able to play in Sochi.
Similarly, with competition like Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick, Alex Stalock will not be playing in Sochi. As a backup goaltender, Stalock will not be playing for Team USA this year. But, similarly to Wingels, Stalock may be able to make Team USA later in his career.
In summary, here are my predictions for Sharks that will make the Team USA 2014 roster for the Sochi Olympics:
Yes: Joe Pavelski
Maybe: Justin Braun
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