David Leggio and Brian Gionta are one step closer to representing the United States at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
USA Hockey has announced the men's national select team that will compete in the Deutschland Cup next month. The 29-player list includes Gionta, the former Sabres captain, and Leggio, the Williamsville native who spent three years in the Sabres' organization.
Gionta has been practicing with the Rochester Americans in preparation for his international experience. The 38-year-old, who skated in the 2006 Games, is one of two U.S. players who have appeared in the Olympics. The other is former Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay defenseman Ryan Malone, who won a silver medal in 2010.
Leggio was one of three goaltenders announced for the squad, joining Brandon Maxwell and Ryan Zapolski. Leggio is in his third season with Munich of the German elite league. The 33-year-old played for the Sabres' minor-league teams in Portland and Rochester from 2010 to 2013, going 88-60-3.
Leggio represented the United States at the world championships in 2010 and 2014.
Fellow former Amerks Matt Donovan and Bobby Sanguinetti are also on the U.S. team. They will face Slovakia, Russia and host Germany on Nov. 10-12.
— Kevin Allen (@ByKevinAllen) October 18, 2017
The NHL has elected not to release its players for the Olympics in February in South Korea, so the competing nations are gathering players from Europe and the minor leagues.
"We’re excited about our roster for the Deutschland Cup,” said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director for hockey operations at USA Hockey and the general manager of the 2017 U.S. Men’s National Select Team and the 2018 U.S. Olympic team. “It should be an excellent tournament and will also be a good chance to help us in our Olympic preparation.”