This seems as jam packed a field as ever. In a post Olympic year, who could honestly have imagined such a strong field of contenders from all over the globe!
I see two skaters entering this event as "co-favorites" if you will. Reigning World Champion Daisuke Takahashi and Grand Prix Final Champ Patrick Chan. Both skaters ooze component scores that are out of this world and are both technically consistent. For both of these skaters I think the key to the competition lies in one word: QUAD. Both have it, Chan's looks a little steadier this season, both will need it. Takahashi comes off a win in Tapei at the Four Continents Championships, Chan comes off the skate of a lifetime at Canadian Nationals...both look ready to take the title!
Past the favorites there is quite a list of would be spoilers. Just to list them: Tomas Verner, Florent Amodio, Brian Joubert, Takahiko Kozuka, and Nobunari Oda. All have had moments of brilliance this season with the exception of uber-veteran Joubert who has looked less than stellar for the better part of the season. Verner, Oda, and Joubert bring experience while Amodio and Kozuka bring youthful vigor...should be fun to watch it play out!
Lurking quietly in the background are the ones no one expects will contend for the medals but may just surprise us. Among them, Team USA with Ryan Bradley, Richard Dornbush, and Ross Miner. Richard looks the most put together of the three with consistent skates this season. Ryan Bradley, if the quads and axels are with him, could be formidable. Miner with his quick speed and charming personality could also surprise. Also on the would be list include: Javier Fernandez, Denis Ten, Artur Gachinski, Samuel Contesti, and Michal Brezina.