Biggest snubs for Team USA

Metrics show which players had the best case but didn't make the cut

Updated: January 2, 2014, 11:29 AM ET
By Neil Greenberg | ESPN Insider

Jack JohnsonRussell Lansford/Icon SMISome believe Jack Johnson was the biggest Team USA snub, but analytics point to others.

Well, that didn't take long. The announcement of who will be skating for the USA men's hockey team in Sochi has already gotten the new year off to a cruel beginning for some. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that Columbus Blue Jackets blueliner Jack Johnson -- who some viewed as a lock, and likely captain -- will be watching from home.

Johnson has had an illustrious international playing career. The Michigan alum was named to the 2006 IIHF World Junior Championship All-Star Team, won silver with Team USA during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver and was the captain for Team USA at the 2010 IIHF World Championship tournament in Germany. But let's not view this omission as a snub.

Ignoring special teams and lead-protecting situations from the 2007-08 season to last season's lockout-shortened campaign, a team with Johnson on the ice has seen just 45.7 percent of shot attempts in their favor. Without him, those same linemates have managed to take 51.5 percent of the shot attempts. This season, under the same circumstances, the Blue Jackets have been outattempted 242 to 275 when Johnson skates. In other words, a team without Johnson has been, at least statistically, a better team, and that likely includes the squad being sent to Sochi.

However, leaving off Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is a snub, and a major one at that. In fact, he leads the list of Team USA's biggest snubs once you go deeper into the numbers. Let's take a look:

Neil Greenberg is ESPN Insider's NHL analytics expert. His columns have appeared on the Washington Post website, and he is a regular guest on Sirius XM NHL Radio.