His 11-12 was better than any season by anyone projected to the American blueline who isn't Ryan Suter. This is after ending the season prior as a top pairing guy for the Rangers as well.
If McDonaugh isn't on your SoChi blueline, literally every slot after #1 belongs to a "bubble player."
Funny you say that, because I said that in my predictions. Not much separates everyone after Suter. He's the only one with a set-in-stone spot. Is McDonaugh likely going to make it? Probably, but until the consistency shows, he's still a bubble player.
In these types of tournaments, teams often pick experience and age. We saw it when Crosby was ommitted, although it was his first NHL season. It remains to be seen, but McDonaugh is by no means set-in-stone for Team USA.
I think going by age, development curve (steadily upwards), and style of play (mobile, risk-free, can totally shut down opposing forwards while still having strong transitional skills), there isn't a player that better suits what team USA is trying to do save Suter.
Short of Burke suffering a freak head injury only to return with the weirdest boner for one-dimensional offensive defensemen, so many players will have to either break their development curves as defensive players or McDonaugh will have to regress so far in his own zone to get left off the roster.
Carlson finished 10-11 having a very strong season as well and many people thought 11-12 would only be better. He didn't really light the world on fire. There's no promises McDonagh starts next season or 13-14 at the same level. He's young and still developing, consistency isn't a term generally given to defenders of his age.
It's not an unfair statement to say he needs to repeat his success before he's a lock. Pretty close to being a lock, but he's not yet.
There's numerous guys that can fill those roles: Pavelski, Pacioretty, JVR, Pominville, Oshie, I can go on and on. To be honest, defensively, Suter is really the only guy that we know is a sure bet. Other than that, there is a lot of young up and comers like McDonagh, Carlson, Yandle, and Shattenkirk, etc. and some more established guys like Orpik, E. Johnson, and Paul Martin.
I think Quick is the de facto starter with Schnieder and either Miller or Howard backing him up. It remains to be seen how good Miller is a couple years from now.
Wait Yandle is a "young up and comer" but Erik Johnson is an established dman?
You guys realize that projecting a team a year and half away necessitates to some degree a bit projection on what a player will do over the intervening period of time. If someone says, McDonaugh makes the team, it is of course with the understanding that the poster thinks he will have a solid season next year and continue to develop positively. To say that it's no guarantee that he will do that is obvious, but you are arguing past each other.
Think Gardiner would have a chance if he continued his play from last year?
It's a bit too soon for Gardiner IMO. He's basically going to have about a year and a half to make the leap, and I just don't see it. He might find himself competing with Faulk, Leddy, and Fowler in some sort of 7th d-man/PP specialist role if they go that route.
This will be on international sized ice, right? I wonder how that'll affect some decisions.
If you can't skate you won't make team. I don't think that will effect the d-men all that much as to a man the U.S. will feature excellent skaters at that position, but it could be a factor at forward (ex: will a guy like Pavelski take a hit?).
I'll nitpick and say no to Jack Johnson and Shattenkirk together. If you are going to keep them on the team you'd have to partner one with a stay at home guy like Carlson, McDonagh or Erik Johnson.
I would also take Okposo over Pominville, move Callahan up to the 3rd line, switch Ryan and Pacioretty, maybe switch Backes and Pavelski to create a good physical checking line. Okposo-Backes/Pavelski-Brown would then be the bangers line.