The United States men’s hockey team started off their Olympic tournament with a shaky loss against Slovenia. It demonstrated what many already know about this iteration of the games: we don’t know anything at all.
The absence of NHL players has left a lot of the talent pools with players that were playing in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) of Russia, the American Hockey League (AHL) in North America and multiple other European leagues.
The players that make up the U.S. men’s team include a few youngsters and a few NHL veterans that used to be difference-makers at the highest level. We’re here to rank every single last one of them to get you acquainted with them.
25. Goalie David Leggio
Leggio has always had a problem with consistency, but he does have high peaks in his game. Leggio could get hot and put the team on his back. He will likely be the third-string option unless someone gets injured but he is a good player to have given his experience.
24. Defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti
A former first-round pick, Sanguinetti could never stick in the NHL, but he has formed a good rapport in the Swiss first division. He is big and has a solid slapshot, if anyone could surprise in this tournament it could be Sanguinetti.
23. Forward John McCarthy
McCarthy has spent his entire career in the San Jose Sharks system; he isn’t the player he was a few years ago. More of a defensive forward than anything, McCarthy will be relied on as a checking forward on a team missing them.
22. Goalie Brandon Maxwell
Playing in the Czech first division, Maxwell has taken a funky path to get to these Olympic games, but he has the pedigree to go along with his play. At only 26-years-old, he is right in the middle of his peak. A good tournament could vault him to the front of many professional North American scouts’ minds.
21. Forward Ryan Stoa
He has points as well as defensive smarts; he is going to be relied upon by the United States in every scenario. No one will mistake him for a superstar; Stoa has done it all in the KHL. His issues in North America were mostly based on consistency and shaky play.
20. Defenseman Noah Welch
One of the alternate captains on the team, Welch isn’t the player he once was but is still an imposing force. He is more of the old school mold of player that throws their body around. If any player has trouble staying out of the penalty box, it could be Welch. He has racked up plenty of penalty minutes while in the Swedish Hockey League.
19. Forward Chad Kolarik
Playing in the German first division (DEL) Kolarik is as balanced offensively as they come. He has impressed in every league he has played in other than the NHL. He is a playmaker and not much more. He just doesn’t have the same resume as many other forwards on the team.
18. Forward Brian O’Neill
O’Neill is an undersized winger that doesn’t have the pedigree of other players on the team. He plays in the KHL and performs well. He is a gritty player that doesn’t often back down and is a bit of a playmaker as well.
17. Forward Jim Slater
Slater isn’t fleet of foot and his stats in the Swiss first division aren’t the best but he is a player that has seen it all and will be called upon in crucial moments for the United States. The team will need a couple of those players.
16. Defenseman Jonathon Blum
You’ll sense a theme with many of the defensemen on the team; they aren’t physical, they’re offensively focused and they know how to put points up. It is a different strategy than in years past for the United States; they’re hoping it pays off for them. Blum will contribute plenty to this strategy.
15. Defenseman Chad Billins
More of a two-way player, Billins is small, but he gets the job done. He is a solid passer and plays in the Swedish Hockey League. He won’t dominate the tournament by any stretch, but he will give the team another solid option.
14. Defenseman Matt Gilroy
Bigger guy but isn’t necessarily physical, Gilroy is one of many offensively focused defensemen on the team. He plays in the KHL currently and puts up a respectable half a point per game. One of the older players on the team, Gilroy is going to be a leader on the team. He wears the “A” for alternate captain on the team.
13. Defenseman Will Borgen
Borgen has long been a high potential player in the NCAA, he hasn’t reached that potential just yet, but he is capable of a solid play now and then. If any player could rise above this event, it could be him. He plays a solid, non-flashy game and will be a good complement to the United States offensively-focused defensemen.
12. Defenseman Ryan Gunderson
Undersized and offensively inclined, Gunderson is another solid player to have at the Olympics. Playing in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), Gunderson is well aware of some of the top players in this tournament. Having performed well already in the league, Gunderson won’t be phased.
11. Forward Bobby Butler
Jumping around the NHL, AHL, and KHL, Butler hasn’t been able to find his place but no matter where he plays, he still puts up points. As a utility player for the United States, they know that anything can be thrown at him and he will perform.
10. Forward Jordan Greenway
The biggest player on the team, Greenway has some skill to go along with that size. He plays on a solid Boston University and is used as a net-front presence. Don’t be surprised to see him parked in front of the opposing goaltender in many of their games.
9. Forward Broc Little
Like many of the players on the team, Little couldn’t get past the minor league barrier and then moved over to Europe to find his niche. The former Yale product is a solid passer and puts up points in bunches. His speed is what can be focused in on during the tournament.
8. Forward Troy Terry
Terry is most well known for his tricks with the puck during the shootout. He dominated the World Junior Championships with his shootout moves and is a good weapon for the United States to have in their back pocket.
7. Goalie Ryan Zapolski
The top American goalie outside of North America, Zapolski is playing in the KHL and is tearing it up. He could never find his spot in the AHL and went overseas to ply his craft. Now at 31-years old, he is coming into his own and will have an entire country on his back.
6. Forward Garrett Roe
The undersized Roe plays in the Swiss first division and is primarily a passer. He will be tasked with giving the puck to the scorers on the roster. How exactly he’ll fare against consistent top competition will be the real test.
5. Forward Ryan Donato
One of the top college hockey players in the nation, Donato is a weapon for Harvard. He is near the top of the entire NCAA in goals, and like many other top players in this tournament, he knows his way around the puck.
4. Forward Mark Arcobello
Stuck on the fourth line of multiple NHL clubs and then sent down to the AHL multiple times as well, Arcobello wanted to establish himself as a force overseas. Playing in the Swiss first division, Arcobello sits at a point per game and shows that he still has a penchant for being a solid offensive forward. The team will take all the scoring it can get, and he fits the bill.
3. Forward Chris Bourque
Always near the top of the AHL scoring lists, Bourque at 32-years-old is a journeyman that could never get his game to translate to the NHL full-time. Playing against players at a similar level to the AHL, Bourque has a chance to fill the back of the net and prove his worth.
2. Defenseman James Wisniewski
Wisniewski is a couple of years removed from the NHL, but when he played in the league, he was perpetually one of the most underrated players. While playing in the German second division (DEL2), Wisniewski is well over a point per game. He has a big slapshot and will be a weapon on the power play for this team.
1. Forward Brian Gionta
Was heading towards retirement until it became confirmed that NHL players weren’t going to be participating, the 39-year-old retirement was a contributor last year for the Buffalo Sabres. While the oldest player on the team, he is still the best. He can put the puck in the back of the net and has played at the international level before. These are all factors that play into why he was named the captain of the team.