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Backes and Johnson Selected to Team USA

USA Hockey announced the finalized roster today and Blues David Backes and Erik Johnson both made the 2010 Olympic team. It is the first selection to an Olympic team for both players.

Backes joins forwards such as youngsters Dustin Brown (LA), Phil Kessel (TOR), Zach Parise (NJ), Ryan Kesler (VAN), Patrick Kane (CHI), Bobby Ryan (ANA) and Paul Stastny (COL). Team USA veterans Chris Drury (NYR) and Jamie Langenbrunner (NJ) will be providing the experience up front. The forwards are filled out with Ryan Malone (TB), Ryan Callahan (NYR) and Joe Pavelski (SJ).

Defensively, Johnson will join Jack Johnson (LA), Ryan Suter (NAS), Brooks Orpik (PIT), Mike Komisarek (TOR), Paul Martin (NJ) and the only defender with prior Team USA Olympic experience, Brian Rafalski (DET).

In net Ryan Miller (BUF), Tim Thomas (BOS) and Johnathan Quick (LA) will split the duties.

Notably, Blues forward T.J. Oshie was invited to the US Olympic tryout camp this summer but did not make the cut. His slow start and lack of offensive production when compared to the other forwards who were selected are probably the reasons why he did not make the team.

Team USA is not considered to be one of the top Olympic teams in this February's tournament in Vancouver. While they have some scoring capability up front in Kessel, Stastny, Parise, Kane and Ryan, as well as a nice stable of gritty forwards in Backes, Brown, Kesler, Malone, Langenbrunner, Pavelski and Callahan, they don't match up to the depth of teams like Canada and Russia.

The defense looks to be a good, mobile corps that should be able to take advantage of the larger international ice with their speed and passing ability, thought they too do not have the depth that other nations do.

Finally, the goaltending has the ability to get hot and win some games, but doesn't match up to the overall depth of some of their competitors.

Overall, Team USA looks built to compete and to win a few games, though they'll need to steal a couple contests from better teams if they want to medal.