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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.