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Who will be ice dance's breakout stars in 2017-18?

Icenetwork experts predict which teams will take their skating to next level
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Several of our experts pegged Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons as candidates to make the U.S. podium this season. -Getty Images

Icenetwork asked its contributors which ice dance teams they thought would take the next step forward in the 2017-18 season.

Philip Hersh

U.S.

Standing third after the short dance, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue were ready to break out at the 2017 World Championships, but they came undone in the free, and departed Helsinki with an unsatisfying ninth-place finish. After three straight bronze medals at the U.S. championships, this veteran couple (both 28) is capable of winning the national title and becoming Olympic medal contenders.

International

Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev's return to the world stage last season -- after her positive doping test for meldonium led to a suspension (and reinstatement two months later) -- ended with a disappointing fifth-place finish in Helsinki. This year, look for them to add a second global medal to the bronze they won in 2013.

Lynn Rutherford

U.S.

Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons didn't exactly shine at the Lake Placid Ice Dance International last month, but if the siblings can amp up their performance level moving forward, their strong skating skills will land them in the top six at the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and secure them a ticket to the 2018 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.

International

U.S. bronze medalists Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue were on the cusp of at least a top-five finish at worlds last season before suffering a fall late in their free dance. A world medal is certainly within their reach, especially if an Olympic medalist or two skips the 2018 World Figure Skating Championships.

Sarah Brannen

U.S.

The move to the senior ranks for Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter is eagerly anticipated -- but there's even more buzz surrounding Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue. The duo seemed to be making a big move internationally a year ago, and this season's rumba suits their sensual style. Can they finally overtake their phenomenally talented teammates? Even in the wild world of dance, it seems possible.

International

I'm hoping to see Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland make a strong return to competition. After Coomes' horrible knee injury -- which took many months to recover from -- they ought to feel as though they have nothing to lose and every motivation to fly free this season.

Vladislav Luchianov

U.S./International

Madison Chock and Evan Bates, one of the most passionate couples in modern ice dance, began last season very strong, winning the silver medal at five of their first six competitions, but they faltered a bit toward the end of the year. I believe they are ready to recapture the U.S. title and achieve high finishes at their international events.

Jean-Christophe Berlot

U.S.

Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons have managed their career beautifully, peaking last season during their final campaign in the junior ranks. Their victory at the 2016 Junior Grand Prix Final marked an incredible turnaround, and they continue to improve their style and edges by skating with amazing energy and stamina. They may not reach the podium at the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but don't be surprised if they do.

International

While I don't believe Russia's Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin can challenge for a medal at the Olympics -- mainly due to the fact that they're up against their more accomplished countrymen, Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev -- that doesn't mean they should be overlooked. Their unison, energy and youthful exuberance could allow them to crack the top five at the world championships.

Wei Xiong

U.S.

An Olympic spot may not seem possible for world junior champions Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons, but I expect the siblings from Maryland to make a big impression with their solid skating and creativity. Don't be surprised to see them capture medals in their early competitions while building the foundation for the next four-year cycle in the process.

International

Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin have been viewed as "the next big thing" for the past few seasons, and this could be the year we finally see their potential materialize. As the couple gains more experience, they'll continue to grow into a serious threat for a spot at the Grand Prix Final -- they may even find themselves in the top eight at the Olympic Games.

Nick McCarvel

U.S.

What a world the U.S. dance scene is now, with the plethora of talent that will try and skate onto the podium in South Korea. For me, this is the season that Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons, as well as Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter, make a big impact on the senior level, and perhaps even threaten for a spot on the Olympic team. They're both trying to make the transition to senior, and while both teams have just one Grand Prix assignment, I still think they could make their presence felt come January.

International

The Russian team of Alla Loboda and Pavel Drozd were silver medalists at the world junior championships last season and have two Grand Prix assignments this season (Skate Canada, Internationaux de France) in their senior debut. And while Russia had a stranglehold on dance for years, only one team (Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev) placed in the top eight in the world last season. Bobrova and Soloviev will remain the top dogs in their country, but could the young duo quietly sneak into that second spot? There's an opening for it.

FINAL TALLY

U.S.

Parsons/Parsons - 4
Hubbell/Donohue - 2
Chock/Bates - 1
McNamara/Carpenter - 1

International

Stepanova/Bukin - 2
Bobrova/Soloviev - 1
Coomes/Buckland - 1
Hubbell/Donohue - 1
Loboda/Drozd - 1