NEW YORK – The roster for the 2014 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team is still very much up in the air, but we know two shoo-ins will be the Wild’s Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.
They were two players on the 2010 team that won the silver medal in Vancouver.
“When we put together that team, our hope was that those players would mature, and in 2014, we’d have a good nucleus. That’s exactly the way it’s played out,” said David Poile, Team USA’s general manager who doubles as Nashville’s GM. “Parise and Suter are arguably two of the best players in the NHL.
“Ryan in a 48-game schedule with a no conference crossover was top three for the Norris and arguably if other people would have seen him could have been the Norris Trophy winner. Zach Parise is on everybody’s All-Star team. So those are two good guys to start with.”
Poile, his large management team and Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, who will coach the Americans in Sochi, Russia, were introduced Saturday morning at a news conference in Manhattan.
They made clear that winning gold is the expectation. The Americans won silver in 2002 in Salt Lake City and in Vancouver. They didn’t medal in Nagano in 1998 or Turin in 2006. Poile said the Americans have to put together the proper roster to succeed on the larger 200-foot-by-100-foot international rink.
“In 2010, you heard [then-GM] Brian Burke using words like truculence,” Poile said. “I’m not saying that’s not important, but that may be less important in 2014. Skating is important.”
The United States will hold an orientation camp Aug. 25-29 at the Washington Capitals’ Iceplex in Arlington, Va. The Wild’s Jason Pominville might earn an invite, although Poile wouldn’t confirm. Though born in Canada, Pominville has dual citizenship because his mother is American. He played for the United States in the 2008 world championships.
“We’re going to get to the point where somebody’s going to be offended,” Poile said. “We have to sort it out, but we’re close.”
Bylsma raved about the Americans’ potential leadership. Parise should be in the running for team captain.
First things first, the NHL must agree to officially participate. That could happen as early as Monday. The Americans should have a terrific roster, including the past two Conn Smythe Trophy winners (Patrick Kane and Jonathan Quick). The Americans could be stacked in goal with Quick, Jimmy Howard, Corey Schneider and Craig Anderson vying for three of the 22 roster spots.
Brodin named All-Rookie
Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin, who finished fourth in the Calder Trophy race, was named to the All-Rookie team Saturday. He became the first Wild player to be honored with an All-NHL nomination.
Suter is a likely contender for first- or second-team All-Star, which will be announced early this week.
Last season, Brodin, the youngest defenseman in the NHL at age 20, led all rookies in total ice time (1,044:35) and average time on ice (23:12 per game), becoming only the eighth rookie skater in league history to average more than 23 minutes a game.
Other members of the All-Rookie team are St. Louis goalie Jake Allen, Edmonton defenseman Justin Schultz, Montreal forward Brendan Gallagher, Florida forward Jonathan Huberdeau and Chicago forward Brandon Saad.
Trade talk heats up
The rumor mill was churning fast and furious Saturday.
With the Vancouver Canucks unable to trade goalie Roberto Luongo, the Canucks were shopping Schneider. Edmonton apparently was in hot pursuit.
TSN also reported that with the Bruins working toward extending Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask, 21-year-old hotshot Tyler Seguin, the second overall pick in the 2010 draft who can play center or wing, is on the trading block.
You can bet one team extremely interested in Seguin is the Wild. However, if a current first-round pick has to be part of the deal, the Wild no longer owns its 2013 pick.
Pittsburgh Penguins star defenseman Kris Letang might be in play after reportedly rejecting an eight-year, $56 million contract offer. Other big names reportedly on the block include Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf, San Jose’s Dan Boyle, Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, Philadelphia’s Braydon Coburn, Chicago’s Dave Bolland and Tampa Bay’s Ryan Malone.
No Falk offer yet
Agent Craig Oster confirmed the Wild has yet to extend a qualifying offer to potential restricted free agent Justin Falk. The Wild, which has been shopping Falk, has until Tuesday to decide if it wants to retain the defenseman’s rights. If Falk isn’t qualified, he would become unrestricted when free agency opens Friday.