I wasn't going to blog this story, but so many of you have tagged me in tweets or DMd me about it that I guess it's relevant. People seem to be mad online about this rumored appointment for Stan. I really don't care to be honest. There's no reason to believe he can't be successful in this role. It's GM for an Olympic team. There's no salary cap. He can't give out no-trade clauses. You can't trade with other countries. There's no long term contracts. Stan Bowman was made for this job. I think he will do great. And...this is BY FAR the deepest and best pool of players anyone in America has had the privilege to select from. It's going to be a GREAT team. I honestly think this is USA's best chance to finally take down Canada and win gold with NHL players.
Below are my lines. I like balance. You won't see Johnny Hockey with Patrick Kane.
Kyle Connor--Auston Matthews--Patrick Kane
I think I like Kyle Connor more than most, or maybe it's just that he doesn't get a lot of national coverage because he plays in Winnipeg but he is an awesome player. Insane speed, high IQ, responsible, and can finish. He seems like the perfect type of LW to go next to Matthews and opposite of Kane. Matthews will think he's in heaven playing with those two wings. This will be the first time in forever that America will have a true #1 center at the Olympics.
Johnny Gaudreau--Jack Eichel--Brock Boesser
Another line with an elite offensive center, a winger that can control the puck and set up his linemates, and an elite finisher on the other wing. Boesser is scoring at an unreal clip this year even though the Canucks are trash. He's a legit top 6 winger and Eichel will finally get to play with a supporting cast worthy of his talents.
Alex Debrincat--Dylan Larkin--Max Paccioretty
That LW spot really came down to Debrincat vs Guentzel in my opinion and it's impossible to ignore what Debrincat is doing this year. Larkin has really turned himself into a well rounded center and Paccioretty is still doing it. This line has a bit of everything too.
Brady Tkachuk--JT Miller--Matthew Tkachuk
4th line center is really up for grabs. You could make an argument for Kevin Hayes. I love Kevin Hayes. That line would be so physically imposing. Miller's game has really gone to a different level in Vancouver. He can kill PKs. He wins a ton of draws. He's hard to play against. Slight edge to Miller here in between the meanest brothers in the league. I can't wait to see how this line absolutely bullies Russia.
Zach Werenski--Seth Jones
Don't think, just throw. These guys are both awesome. They have chemistry. They're the top pair.
Jaccob Slavin--John Carlson
Slavin is still the most underrated defenseman in the league. He is an elite player who doesn't get talked about because his game is quiet and he's in a market where nobody gives a fuck. Carlson has finished top 5 in Norris voting each of the last three years. Not slowing down. This is a great pair.
Quinn Hughes--Charlie McAvoy
I'm the biggest Charlie McAvoy stan outside of Boston. He has to be on this team. He's a perfect modern defenseman and I see his a slightly worse version of Drew Doughty. Quinn Hughes is so silky and lethal on the PP that he also has to be on this team.
There's a clear top two in my opinion and whoever is playing better when the tournament starts gets nod. Goaltending has historically been a huge strength for Team USA is previous tournaments with Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick being the starters when they were both at the top of their game and arguably the best goalies in the NHL at that point. I don't think Gibson or Hellebuyck are quite at that level. I know Hellebuyck just won the Vezina, but if I'd take Miller and Quick's A-game over him.
Canada is always going to be loaded. Finland is having a golden generation of sorts. I like our guys. Nay...I LOVE our guys. This is America's best team and best chance to win Gold in the Olympics. Let's run this back next year