ANN ARBOR, Mich. — USA Hockey used to have it relatively easy picking players for the Olympics.
Bobby Ryan helped the United States earn a silver medal in 2010 in Vancouver and only 10 NHL players — from all countries — have more goals than he does this season for the Ottawa Senators. But unless Ryan gets a spot in place of an injured player, he won’t have a chance to help the Americans go for gold in Sochi.
‘‘We did not pick the best 25 players,’’ general manager David Poile said Wednesday after the men’s roster was announced. ‘‘We picked the best 25 players that we thought gave us a chance to compete and win the gold medal.’’
And with goaltending and grit, the Americans might have some assets to help them compete with the defending champion Canadians along with the motivated Russians on their home soil.
In Sochi, the US forwards will be: David Backes, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, T.J. Oshie, Max Pacioretty, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Paul Stastny, Derek Stepan, James van Riemsdyk, and Blake Wheeler. John Carlson, Justin Faulk, Cam Fowler, Paul Martin, Ryan McDonagh, Brooks Orpik, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Ryan Suter will be on defense for the Americans.
‘‘There is a lot of guys that can skate well and on the bigger sheet, that'll be huge,’’ van Riemsdyk said.
Ryan was perhaps the most surprising omission on the 25-man men’s roster. Jack Johnson and Erik Johnson, a pair of defensemen who played in the Vancouver Games, also didn’t make the cut. Ryan has 18 goals this season — trailing just two US-born players — and is among league leaders with 36 points.
‘‘If you’re talking about the Johnsons and if you’re talking about Bobby Ryan, they’re fabulous hockey players,’’ Poile said. ‘‘And if I can say this the right way, this is the first time that we’re having to make similar decisions that Canada has had to make for years. We’re leaving off top, top players.’’
Jimmy Howard appears to be the Americans’ third goaltender behind Jonathan Quick and Ryan Miller.
He hasn’t played well and has been injured for much of the season for the Red Wings, but his body of work boosted his bid ahead of Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Other players who could’ve potentially been on the team, but weren’t selected include: Keith Yandle, Kyle Okposo, Cory Schneider, Brandon Saad, and Dustin Byfuglien.
The Americans expect to be a medal contender after they were regarded as young underdogs in 2010, when they were a goal away from knocking off the host Canadians.
Eleven returning Olympians are on the roster for the US women’s team.
Julie Chu is heading to her fourth Olympics. She’ll be looking for a gold medal to go with her two silvers and a bronze. Canada has won the last three Olympic titles.
Also making the team was Amanda Kessel, sister of Phil.
‘‘We have a good blend of veterans and first-time Olympians,” said Katey Stone, who is on leave from coaching Harvard to head Team USA.
The US women’s team has seven defensemen, 11 forwards, and includes three goaltenders: Jesse Vetter, Molly Schaus, and Brianne McLaughlin-Bittle, all of whom have Olympic experience. The other players with Olympic experience include Kacey Bellamy, Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Monique Lamoureux, Gigi Marvin, and Kelli Stack.