Tom Gilbert

Former Badgers defenseman Tom Gilbert, shown playing for the Los Angeles Kings in 2016, is on the U.S. roster for the Deutschland Cup.

PAUL SANCYA, Associated Press

A pair of former University of Wisconsin men's hockey players are among the European-based pro players under consideration for the U.S. Olympic team.

By being included on the 29-man U.S. Men's National Select Team roster for next month's Deutschland Cup, forward Robbie Earl and defenseman Tom Gilbert are part of the group that USA Hockey has in the mix to play in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February.

Earl, 32, has four goals and 13 points in 14 games this season for EHC Biel-Bienne in the Swiss National League.

Gilbert, 34, has five assists and is plus-5 in 13 games for the Nürnberg Ice Tigers of Germany's top league.

Badgers coach Tony Granato, also the coach of the 2018 U.S. Olympic men's hockey team, will lead the Americans at the Deutschland Cup, Nov. 10-12 in Augsburg, Germany. He'll miss UW's series at Michigan State.

USA Hockey has said it would use the German tournament, in which the U.S. will play Slovakia, Russia and Germany, as an evaluation for the Olympic team.

For the first time since 1994, the Olympic men's hockey tournament is being played without players on NHL contracts, leaving the U.S. to look toward European-based players, collegians and those on non-NHL contracts in North American pro leagues.

Badgers center Trent Frederic and goaltender Kyle Hayton have been among those mentioned as possible candidates from the collegiate ranks.

The U.S. roster for the Deutschland Cup features 27 players from European leagues. Forwards Ryan Malone of the AHL's Iowa Wild, who isn't on an NHL contract, and Brian Gionta, who's out of contract, are the others.

Gilbert is in his first season playing in Europe after 11 seasons in the NHL and American Hockey League. Earl has played in Europe since 2011.


Todd D. Milewski covers Wisconsin Badgers men's hockey and the UW Athletic Department for the Wisconsin State Journal.