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Meet The Men On The 2022 U.S. Olympic Ice Hockey Team

By Scott Charles | Jan. 13, 2022, 5:56 p.m. (ET)

The U.S. men’s hockey program went in a different direction with its roster for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. 

The success of Ryan Donato and Troy Terry in 2018 led to general manager John Vanbiesbrouck selecting 15 players currently playing college hockey combined with eight players playing professionally in Europe along with two players from the American Hockey League (AHL). 

Two common characteristics among many players chosen to represent the United States is their ability to play with elite speed coupled with a high IQ on the ice. 

 Here’s a look at the team. 

Rodion Amirov of Russia collides with Drew Helleson during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship on Dec. 25, 2020 in Edmonton, Canada.

 

Defensemen

Brian Cooper

The 28-year-old defenseman has spent the previous few seasons in the Swedish Hockey League and could be relied upon as a power-play specialist. He spent several seasons playing in the AHL prior to playing in Sweden.

 

Brock Faber

Steady right-handed defensemen are hard to find, and Quinn will likely rely on Faber throughout the tournament. He was named to the Big Ten all-freshman team and a finalist for the Big Ten freshman of the year and Big Ten defensive player of the year in his first season at the University of Minnesota. Faber’s ability to read the play and disrupt an offensive attack will frustrate the opposition. 

 

Drew Helleson

The United States will not have the most physical blueline in the tournament, but Helleson will lead the charge as one of the team’s larger defensemen. While his offensive game has improved this season, Helleson will be asked to provide a physical presence. 

 

Steven Kampfer

After playing four seasons at the University of Michigan, the 33-year-old defenseman has spent most of his career platooning between the NHL and AHL. His last NHL stint came with the Boston Bruins last season where he played 20 games before heading over to the KHL this year. With 30 points in 46 games this season for Ak Bars Kazan, Kampfer will be expected to provide offense from the back end and will likely receive time on the power play. 

 

Aaron Ness

Along with Nagle, Ness is the other member of the team currently playing in the AHL. The smooth-skating 31-year-old defenseman has also bounced between the AHL and NHL for much of his career. Ness has always been considered a natural leader and was captain of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers during the 2014-15 season. His experience and leadership will be needed as the team prepares to embark on an Olympic journey. 

 

Nick Perbix

Perbix took a big step forward with St. Cloud State University last season and finished fourth among collegiate defensemen with 23 points in 31 games. His NCAA coach Brett Larson will join Perbix in Beijing as an assistant coach. 

 

Jake Sanderson

As captain of the 2022 World Junior Championship team, Sanderson could serve in a leadership role to represent the collegiate players. On the ice, Sanderson could begin the Olympics as a top-pairing defenseman and will likely be used in all situations. While the World Juniors should have been an opportunity to raise his profile, the Olympics will provide an even greater platform.

 

David Warsofsky

A 2008 fourth-round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues, Warsofsky is one of seven players with NHL experience on the roster. He has spent most of his professional hockey career playing for various AHL teams but has spent this season in the German Professional League. With 16 points in 31 games, he is another candidate to play on the power play and provide an offensive touch from the back end during five-on-five play. 

 

Goalies

Drew Commesso


Drafted in the second round of the 2020 NHL Draft, Commesso has the most NHL potential among the trio of goaltenders selected. His average statistics could be a byproduct due to a down year for the Boston University program, but Commesso has played really well of late. He was the starter for the World Junior Championship before it was shut down due to the spread of COVID-19.  

 

Strauss Mann

The presumed starter for Team USA leads the Swedish Hockey League in goals against average (1.77) and save percentage (.930). During his junior season (2020-21) at University of Michigan, he was the first goalie to be named captain in 78 years. A strong performance in Beijing could set up Mann with an NHL contract at the end of the tournament

 

Pat Nagle

While Nagle might not receive nearly as much playing time as the other two goaltenders on the roster, his veteran leadership might be the most important attribute among the trio. In a short tournament such as the Olympics, coach David Quinn might have a quick hook and Nagle’s ability to stay prepared and come off the bench could be a difference-maker in a close game. 

Andy Miele in action during the Deutschland Cup 2017 match between Germany and USA at Curt-Frenzel-Stadion on Nov. 12, 2017 in Augsburg, Germany.


Forwards

Nick Abruzzese

Abruzzese led Harvard in scoring during the 2019-20 season and avoided a sophomore slump after missing the 2020-21 season. He currently leads his team in scoring and could move up the lineup with early success in the preliminary round.  


Kenny Agostino

The 29-year-old winger has shown his scoring touch in the KHL this season, registering 40 points (20 goals, 20 assists). He spent the previous few seasons playing for the Toronto Marlies of the AHL where he served as an alternate captain during the 2020-21 season. Agostino will be asked to produce in the offensive zone and will likely be relied upon as a team leader due to his experience as a professional hockey player.


Matty Beniers

The second overall selection of the 2021 NHL Draft and the first draft pick in franchise history for the Seattle Kraken will be a player to keep an eye on throughout the Olympics. His strong two-way game will be a valuable asset for Team USA. Beniers won a gold medal with the 2021 U.S. National Junior Team at the IIHF World Junior Championship and participated in the U.S. National Team Development Program prior to attending the University of Michigan. He currently has 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in 21 games in his sophomore season.


Brendan Brisson

It will be fascinating to watch the usage of Brisson throughout the preliminary round. While his play away from the puck can be suspect at times, his prolific goal-scoring ability could carry a team in a short tournament. He will need to produce early in the Olympics to earn and maintain the trust of the coaching staff. 


Noah Cates

A captain for University of Minnesota Duluth and 2019 NCAA champion, Cates is a physical, two-way forward that will help strengthen the bottom-six forward group. He will also be an option to contribute on the penalty kill.


Sean Farrell

Farrell’s impressive 101-point season helped the Chicago Steel of the USHL capture the Clark Cup in the 2020-21 season. He has been a threat offensively at Harvard University this season and it will be interesting to see if it translates at the Olympic Games. His non-stop motor and tenacious forechecking should frustrate the opposition on a shift-by-shift basis. 


Sam Hentges

Drafted by the Minnesota Wild in the seventh round of the 2018 NHL Draft, Hentges is another player from the St. Cloud State program. Hentges is a crafty player with good stick skills but will likely begin the Olympics in a depth role.

Matthew Knies

Knies can likely be found around the crease in the offensive zone and will provide a much-needed net-front presence. As one of the sturdiest 19-year-olds in all of college hockey, he will likely slot into the top-six forwards and be an integral member of the power-play unit.  


Marc McLaughlin

A speedy forward with a defensive mindset, McLaughlin will likely be an essential piece to the penalty kill. A strong Olympic showing will likely lead to an NHL contract at the conclusion of his season with Boston College.


Ben Meyers

Meyers will be a highly sought-after free agent at the end of his season with the University of Minnesota. He could begin the tournament as the team’s third-line center, but his strong two-way game could allow him to move up the lineup and gain the trust of the coaching staff.  


Andy Miele

Miele has produced offensively throughout his hockey career whether it was at Miami University (Ohio), various stops in the AHL or in the KHL. Although he is undersized, the 33-year-old’s natural playmaking ability should make his line a threat in the offensive zone whenever they have possession.  


Brian O’Neill

The lone player returning from the 2018 roster, O’Neill has been a steady offensive presence in the KHL. He has played 212 games in the KHL since the beginning of the 2018 season, registering 202 points (53 goals, 149 assists). As the only player on the roster with Olympic experience, his leadership will be vital for Team USA. 


Nick Shore

Shore will likely anchor the bottom-six unit, a role he has played throughout his 299-game NHL career. His ability to win face-offs, especially key draws in the defensive zone, will help Team USA protect leads throughout the Olympics. 


Nathan Smith

If he weren’t going to Beijing, Smith would be in contention for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top NCAA men’s ice hockey player in the country. His commitment to improving his play away from the puck without losing his gifted offensive abilities has been a joy to watch develop. Smith can earn significant playing time if he remains committed to his defensive game while producing offensively. 

Scott Charles

Scott Charles is a sportswriter whose work has been featured in the Associated Press, various NBC platforms and Yahoo! Sports among other places. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org and you can follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.

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