As we get closer and closer to February, that means we get closer to Olympic hockey. There’s always a story and something different about this hockey style. Players are all motivated and proud to represent their county and are all focused on getting that gold medal. But who will be representing their country this Olympics? And who isn’t allowed to participate? Well we will break that down here. Here are the stipulations and potential players for team USA. Why USA you might ask, well because they’re the best country in the world!
Who’s Not Going
That’s the question everyone is asking. I know it’s confusing this year since players under any sort of NHL contracts can’t play. This includes any NHL players on 1 way deals or two way AHL deals. Some thought that top AHL players from last year would be able to help team USA but the NHL said yesterday that they were not allowed either. These rules obviously apply to every country and if they have players in the NHL.
Who’s Eligible To Go
Well now this is where it gets interesting and seems a littlle unfair. We could be seeing another miracle on ice scenario. The Russians will still have an amazing team by taking players from the KHL. Some players include Pavel Datsyuk, Andrei Markov, Ilya Kovalchuk, and possibly Alexander Ovechkin. That’s a really good team on paper and will be much better then the young players they’ll be opposing. So they will have a great chance to win it all. But onto the team that matters, team USA.
Team USA will again be a underdog coming into this Olympics like they were during the miracle on ice. Team USA hasn’t gotten a medal for a couple Olympics but still even though the competition is less, there will be tough competition. Other countries will be able to pull from the European leagues and the Canadians are always talented no matter their age. But Team USA will have to gain talent from players overseas and college players. Or maybe even free agents. All the players are not near NHL caliber level players now or some are to old or never had enough skill to make it. But I looked at some players that could possibly make it but it’s tough go find with most recent stipulations.
Mark Arcabello (Europe)
Brian Gionta (Free Agent)
Colin White (Potential NCAA)
Clayton Keller (Potential NCAA)
Luke Cunin (Potential NCAA)
Anders Bjork (Potential NCAA)
Matt Gilroy (Hobey Baker Award Winner)
Brock Boeser (Potential NCAA)
Sam Lofquist (Potential NCAA)
Ryan Zapolski: .923 SV% (KHL)
Kyle Hayton: .934 SV% (St. Lawrence University)
Those are just some of the names linked to Team USA. It’s still confusing on the stipulations and whether or not younger players will make their NHL club or return to school. If those college stars listed above return to college then it’ll be very interesting. Team USA will be able to compete for a medal as they usually are. This Olympics will be like no other because of the younger talent on these rosters and also the situation with the Russians playing with NHL players on their roster again. The gold medal game could be a ‘David vs Goliath’ situation again. Team USA will play in a European tournament in the middle of November and that roster should be very telling for us. Either way it’ll be interesting to see how this team is constructed and the play style they’ll have.