The National Hockey League (NHL), National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), and the IIHF have reached a joint agreement confirming NHL player participation in the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. Olympic hockey games start February 9 with the league break beginning February 3, with the Gold Medal contest slated for February 22. The NHL will resume action on February 23.
The Rangers could have several members of the squad competing on one of the 12 teams vying for the Gold. Joining the top eight nations that were seeded into the tournament according to the 2019 IIHF World Ranking -- Canada, Russian Olympic Committee, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, United States, Germany and Switzerland -- will be tournament host China as well as the recently qualified teams from Slovakia, Latvia and Denmark, who earned the final seeds last weekend in the final men's Olympic qualification tournaments.
Preliminary "long lists" of possible players need to be submitted for National Teams by October 15 with the final rosters announced by January. That means we get to have several months of debates, but I would expect the initial lists for several countries to be voluminous just in case a remote possibility blossoms early in the season warranting consideration. The broader debates will start just before and after roster announcement.
Below is a list of which Rangers could be invited. The term could is important, as the vast majority of them likely will not be part of their countries' team. For purposes of the list, I did include long shots so we have a broader population to evaluate, as they may be included in the long lists. I have bolded
the ones that I think have a good chance of earning a spot and italicized
those that are a solid maybe.
USA - Chris Kreider, Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba
Canada - Ryan Strome
Russia - Igor Shesterkin, Artemi Panarin, Vitali Kravtsov
Finland. - Kaapo Kakko
Sweden - Mika Zibanejad
Czech Republic - Filip Chytil
Panarin would be a no-brainer, but he is italicized because of all what transpired last year and if that will impact his inclusion/selection. Plus, he may not feel comfortable going overseas and playing for his country in the Olympics. I could see Chytil, especially with a good start to the year, earning one of the extra roster spots for the Czech team. In the past, Trouba was likely a given for the US roster, but that spot will be taken by Fox. In addition, who of Jones, Werenski, Q. Hughes, Carlson, McAvoy, Krug, Slavin or Petry is he beating out?
In addition, congrats to former Rangers coach David Quinn who was named as an assistant coach for Team USA today.
I am an unabashed fan of the Olympics, especially hockey, Hurdles remain, largely due to the pandemic, and I would not be surprised if the games had no fans and were basically in the bubble like the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. But I am very much looking forward to the competition and especially seeing some of the young players who participated in the World Cup.