The top men's competitors have slowly bit the dust over the past few weeks. In a steady succession of withdrawals, Lambiel...then Lysacek, followed by Weir...then Verner, and finally just yesterday Plushenko, the men's field has opened up considerably.
That means, by defacto, reigning Olympic Bronze Medalist, Japan's Daisuke Takahashi is the favorite to win. But he's been a bit unpredictable this season having some great performances coupled with some rough ones. His artistic ability is unmatched by he's a question mark technically.
Some of Takahashi's greatest competition will come from his own backyard. Nobunari Oda and Takahiko Kozuka are in a great position to spoil the podium and give Japan an amazing opportunity to sweep the podium! Nobunari will need to find the magic he had earlier in the season and Kozuka will need to find his legs and land jumps. Like Takahashi, both are capable of solid component scores that can catapult them to the top.
Canada's Patrick Chan has a chance to regroup and put Olympic disappointment behind him. The reigning World Silver Medalist has everything it takes to win this title, hopefully he's worked out his technical glitches including that inconsistent triple axel.
Two of the other wildcards in this event come from the U.S. First Jeremy Abbott, who had a terrible showing at the Olympics, having to scramble to just get to 9th place overall. But he, like Chan, is more than capable of winning the title (see 2010 U.S. Nationals Free Skate!). He just can't be a head case. Also from the U.S., Adam Rippon just won his first Senior ISU Title at the Four Continents Cup so he too has to be considered a medal threat.
That just leaves Joubert. If Abbott had a terrible Olympics, Joubert had a disastrous Olympics, finishing way down in 16th. But he does this...he has a bad skate, turns into a basket case and has terrible skates...pulls back, gets perspective...then starts having great skates again. And Plushenko, for some reason or another, spooks him. Without Plushenko in the competition, maybe he'll feel like the Alpha-Dog again and get his swagger back. He is the reigning World Bronze Medalist and is also capable of doing well in Torino.
Medal Predictions: (GOLD) Nobunari Oda, (SILVER) Patrick Chan, (BRONZE) Jeremy Abbott