Like Sweden and Canada before them, three other hockey powers have announced the first few members of their 2022 Olympic team today. Finland is going with Aleksander Barkov, Mikko Rantanen, and Sebastian Aho, while the Czech Republic will have Ondrej Palat, Jakub Voracek and David Pastrnak in Beijing next year.
It’s no secret we’re excited about the prospects of our team for the 2022 Games. Patrick, Auston and Seth reflect the high level of talent that will make up our final roster as we strive to bring gold back home to the U.S.
For Kane, this is nothing new. He was on the ice at both the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, while also wearing the “C” for the U.S. at various other international tournaments. What would be different is winning a gold, given his history at those tournaments. It’s been a long time since he took home the top prize, going all the way back to 2006 at the U18 WJC. Bronze at the U20 tournament, bronze at the World Championship and silver at the Olympics doesn’t create the international legacy that many would assume a player of Kane’s stature would have.
This year though he’ll have some help that he’s never had before. Jones and Matthews will both be taking part in their first Olympics, with the latter only having one World Championship under his belt. Matthews actually joined the U.S. team at the 2016 tournament before he even made his NHL debut and worked his way from extra skater to top-line center by the end of the event. That’s exactly the spot he will be expected to fill this time around after winning the Rocket Richard Trophy and coming second in Hart Trophy balloting last season.
For Finland and the Czechs, they too are starting off with some powerhouse trios. Barkov and Aho are a formidable 1-2 center punch that can play with anyone, while Rantanen brings his unique mix of size and skill on the wing. Palat, a key member of the Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup teams, is one of the best two-way players in the entire league and Pastrnak is one of the brightest offensive talents in the entire world.
The event is sure to be exciting as the NHL returns to the world stage.