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World Cup of Hockey Preview: USA Boasts Multiple Options

World Cup of Hockey Preview: USA Boasts Multiple Options

As the hockey world prepares for the return of the World Cup of Hockey, the staff at InGoal Magazine will take a closer look at the goaltending situation for all eight teams, including likely starters and style of play leading into the pre-tournament exhibition games. We started with the Czech Republic, then Team EuropeTeam North America, Finland and Sweden. Today we take a closer look at Team USA:

At the upcoming World Cup of Hockey tournament, few teams outside of Canada will be nearly as stacked in net at the United States.

With two of the NHL’s three Vezina finalists for the 2016 season in the depth chart – and the third netminder on the roster arguably the biggest snub from the Vezina list outside of the finalists – Team USA shouldn’t have much trouble dominating with their goaltending. The biggest problem may be picking the right one, something head coach John Tortorella has already alluded to during training camp, so let’s take a closer look at the options:

Jonathan Quick

 Games PlayedSV%5 vs 5 SV%HD SV%Record
2015-16 Pro Season68.918.928.82740-23-2
Jonathan Quick

Quick was noticeably less aggressive positionally (at least in the regular season) last year, which may make for an easier transition behind the collapsing defensive style preferred by coach John Tortorella (InGoal photo by Scott Slingsby)

Agree with it or not, Jonathan Quick – one of the two Vezina finalists on the roster –  is likely to be the bona fide starter for Team USA at the event. There’s reason to accept that decision, though, whether you subscribe to the belief that he’s an elite netminder or not.

For starters, Quick is one of the NHL’s most dynamic goaltenders in high-adrenaline situations – and it shows both from an anecdotal standpoint and in his numbers. Despite being a league-average (at times, below average) starter during the regular season for the Los Angeles Kings, the American goaltender boasts some of the league’s best high-danger numbers. His playoff performances are works of art, as well; his depth is sometimes baffling and his movements often extraneous, but he certainly knows how to get where he needs to be in the nick of time during those do-or-die situations.

See Quick’s WCoH mask here

Ben Bishop

 Games PlayedSV%5 vs 5 SV%HD SV%Record
2015-16 Pro Season61.926.930.82035-21-1
Ben Bishop finds the puck through traffic. (InGoal Photo by Clint Trahan)

Ben Bishop finds the puck through traffic. (InGoal Photo by Clint Trahan)

If Quick is either injured or struggles to replicate his own playoff and tournament success, expect Ben Bishop – the other Vezina finalist on the roster – to be tapped to fill his skates in net for Team USA at the World Cup.

Bishop’s biggest weakness is his tracking, with a tendency to rely on reading shots off the blade that can leave him reaching and out of optimal position during his day-to-day goaltending performances.

What he may lack in technical precision, though, Bishop more than makes up for with the one thing a goaltender can’t buy – his immense size and incredible athleticism. He towers over the rest of the league’s netminders, and that size has saved his skin on more than one occasion. It could end up saving Team USA, as well, if he’s given the chance.

Check out Bishop’s WCoH mask here

Cory Schneider

 Games PlayedSV%5 vs 5 SV%HD SV%Record
2015-16 Pro Season58.924.930.84127-25-1

Of the three netminders tapped by Team USA, Schneider is likely the one who might not see any ice time during the actual tournament, which is unfortunate because he’s the most technically sound of the trio.

Poor regular season records in the last two years have left Schneider out of Vezina talks around the league, but his actual performances behind a porous and offensively lacking New Jersey Devils roster suggest Schneider with good support would be incredible. If he happens to find his way into net for Team USA, having him as an option could be the difference maker for the roster; he’s certainly stolen more than his fair share of games over the last few years and his more positionally neutral style may fit the system best.

About The Author

Cat Silverman

Catherine is the first American in a long line of Canadians, making her the black sheep before she even decided she wasn't going to be a Leafs fan. Writer for Today's Slapshot, InGoal Magazine, and, coach in the Arizona Coyotes Department of Hockey Development. Goalies are not voodoo.