I think the one most likely to retire would be Zhang because she really would have it toughest to make the US Oly team. The others well there is what is said and there is what is deep down which no one likes to talk about because it is so dark.
These are all possible realistic candidates to retire but won't in the lure of Oly glory medal or otherwise and in their mind and many others maybe they will have the great skate but they are also vulnerable to fiascos not just bad skates but disasters with the exception of Plushy and it is body that is the problem
Alissa Czisny - as rosy as one puts it coming back from injury at her age and with her recent disasters and inconsistency she is a candidate to retire. Shje won't probably because of pride and oly hope. She also in many people's mind has the potential to medal but at the same time she has had some disasterous skates worthy of not making it out of regionals. Arguably she could pull a Liz Manley but manley arguably showed a little more promise at world's and never crashed as badly.
Mirai Nagasu - many thought she was the next great one, the next Kwan - all around. But technically she has had problems and artistically she has n ot really grown from 2010. She has been inconsistent and the fire is sometimes lacking but she is younger than Czisny and has the potential which we have never seen other than oly 2010. With three lady spots to Oly like open she will skate on. But like Czisny her hope is waning - she has had her chances and not gone through the window of opportunity and there are new girls including Gracie Gold about to zoom past her.
Rachel Flatt - well she is no longer the rock of the team; her jumps are waning, artistically pleasant at best but no growth and busy with school One might think she either gives school a break, heals from injury and gives 110 with a third spot or retire. She probably will stick on for one more year.
Brian Joubert despite two Oly disasters he is kind of like the grandfather now who you can't get rid of. Glimmers of hope hovering around the podiumat Euros there really is only room for one charismatic Frenchman and Amodio seems to be the guy. Without his quad consistency he has lost his uniquness for a personality skater besides you still have Plushy (forget Amodio). And overall he is now two steps behind Fernandez, Takahashi, Hanyu and Chan. He is now challenged for being the pretty boy too with Fernandez and the Asian favour for Dai. He will continue on because he realistically will make world's but his best before date is long gone - but he hasn't gone totally sour - yet.
Alena Leonova will continue on. She needs to regroup or go out as the world silver medalllist who fell into oblivion. She needs some help with her programs but she sells them And she needs to get the bigger jumps - not sure why the ladies are wimping out. Flips and lutzer were de riguer before.
Ksenia Markova seems to be lost among the Russian baby ballerinas She has had messy, weak choreographed programs and her jumps aren't so hot. She will skate on but it seems almost helpless or a lost cause now with at least three top Russian young ladies to get by.
Amelie Lacoste will go on for sure if Osmond earns two spots for Canada this is a no brainer. The question is will Rochette return - i doubt it but her recent competition in Japan suggests despite watered down jumps she should be able to beat Lacoste.
Plushenko - he is still a threat at Euros and maybe at worlds and olympics His body is the problem and he needs to compete wisely. Whether he skates on depends on his body. Its 50 50 but at least he is out there which is more than you can say about Evan and Johnny (somehow many of us suspected or questioned the true sincerity of their return and sure enough injuries and such and they haven't completed one competition between the two of them - at least with Plushy you saw legit attempts and heck an unexpected Euro title last year by Plush inbetween sugeries.
Evan lysacek - I question his sincerity or rather the legitimacy of his return. It smells funny and if it is legit and only Evan truly knows the fact he didn't skate last year and the injuries this year and coincidentally he would have been ready had nationals been 3 weeks later - is anyone buying this. Still he might pull a Sasha Cohen and make a decent fight at nationals next year especially if there are three men spots for Oly glory. But I also think Evan is one of those skaters are pushing their luck - he might be a lucky boy though who knows.
Kavaguti and Smirnov - despite bad results I think they will give it one more year. I hope they transform themselves and get the tricks in. I have no idea why people have soured on them so badly.
Weaver and Poje and P and B - they will come back; they will try for world's this year but this is unlikely or they may not do as well as hoped. They will come back in lure of Oly gold and W and P are still young.
Suguri - no comment; she really isn't on the int' scene with the quality of Japanese ladies
Miki Ando - like Evan I question how motivated she is really to return legitimately We'll see and going back to Morosov is really odd considering their realtioship issues
I think Kozuka and Oda and all the Japanese men on the bubble will return in the lure and hope of Oly glory. Hanyu and takahashi are sure bets and I think the others will follow
As for Buttle yes he did skate the lights out in 2008 and may have worried if he could do it again but he certainly could compete with Evan. 2008 worlds versus evan's gold at Oly 2010 and Buttle would have won hands down. He matches Evan technically if not a bit higher GOE wise then he kills him in pcs. He is far more honest than Evan, Alyssa, Mirai, Johnny, Rachel et al about his Oly chances. Yes they could win or earn medals but it would be a bit of a fluke imho.