Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik is among 12 defensemen participating in Team USA’s Orientation Camp and he has himself in position to earn a roster spot with Team USA for the 2010 Olympics.
Orpik is a Brian Burke type of player and two attributes that enhance his chances of making the team; ability to play alongside skilled defensemen and his exceptional skating ability.
For the majority of reps in practice Orpik has been paired with
former teammate Ryan Whitney. Whitney and Orpik play together for the majority of the 2006-2007 season.
Whitney infact has had a very strong camp and multiple sources believe he is a lock to make the team along with Mike Komisarek, Brian Rafalski and Ryan Sutter.
Two wildcards are Jack Johnson and Erik Johnson. Both players are among the most talented players in camp but Jack Johnson has had an inconsistent NHL career thus far and Erik Johnson missed the entire 2008-2009 season.
*Rob Scuderi of the LA Kings is a longshot but some NHL insiders like E.J. Hradek of ESPN, believe Scuderi has a strong chance to make the team due to his performance in the playoffs and could give Team USA a shutdown pairing with Mike Komisarek.
Defensemen invited to camp: Tom Gilbert, Tim Gleason, Ron Hainsey, Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Mike Komisarek, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik, Brian Rafalski, Rob Scuderi, Ryan Suter, Ryan Whitney.
Forwards: David Backes, David Booth, Dustin Brown, Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, Jamie Langenbrunner, Ryan Malone, Mike Modano, Kyle Okposo, T.J. Oshie, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Bobby Ryan, Paul Stastny.
*Zach Parise is the class of the forward group and has really established himself as the leader of the team moving forward.
Ryan Malone is another former Penguin who has a strong chance of making the team. Like Brooks Orpik, Malone is a Brian Burke type of player and Burke made a number of attempts to trade for Malone this summer.
For Malone, Whitney, Orpik and Scuderi, it also doesn’t hurt that Ray Shero is selecting the team.
*Brooks Orpik has donated 15 sets of OneGoal starter hockey equipment to Pittsburgh’s inner-city “Hockey in the Hood” program.
Each player attending the U.S. Olympic Men’s Hockey Orientation Camp this week in Woodbridge, Ill. will donate 15 sets of equipment to the youth organization of his choice. The equipment was purchased by the National Hockey League Players Association through its “Goals & Dreams” fund, in cooperation with USA Hockey and OneGoal.