Preview and projection: Team USA

Americans project very well on paper, but face unique challenges in Sochi

Updated: January 22, 2014, 10:17 AM ET
By Timo Seppa | Hockey Prospectus

Martin/MillerBruce Bennett/Getty ImagesPaul Martin, Ryan Miller & Co. are looking to bring another medal home for the United States.

Olympic Previews: USA | Canada | Russia | Sweden
Finland | Czech Republic | Slovakia | The Rest

Behind the powerhouse Canadian squad, Team USA profiles as the No. 2 contender for the gold medal in next month's Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

That's what the straight analytics breakdown says, at least. But more on that in a moment.

By quantifying each team's players by their recent performances over the past two partial seasons -- meaning the 48 games of the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign combined with the 40-plus games in the books for 2013-14 -- we have come up with top-level projections for each squad, ranking them on offense, defense and goaltending, as well as overall.

The metric of choice is Hockey Prospectus' goals versus threshold (GVT), which is a comprehensive measure of a player's contributions in all phases of the game. Team USA, at 2.9 GVT per game, is much better than an average NHL team, which comes in at 1.5 GVT per game. Below is how the team breaks down by position group and how it stands among those competing in Sochi.