Olympic Hockey: Possible Change in Scenery For 2018

Olympic Hockey: A general view of construction of the hockey II arena in preparation for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. Mandatory Credit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

Olympic Hockey: NHL, NHLPA, and the IIHF have yet to reach an agreement considering NHLers playing in PyeongChang in 2018.

One of the biggest stories around the NHL is whether players will be participating in Olympic hockey in 2018. This is because the IIHF doesn’t want to fund players, and NHL general managers don’t want to either. So what should be done?

The sides have until January to come to an agreement.

Many fans are split down the middle. Several still want to see the NHL in 2018, but others don’t. Truth be told, the last 6 Olympic hockey tournaments where the best players in the world have participated, hasn’t been all that exciting. First of all, when you have national All-Star teams like Canada, USA, and Russia. Then you’ve got teams like Latvia, Slovakia, and Norway – it’s easy to determine who should dominate.

So imagine if the Olympics were like they were before 1998. We’ll explore two possible outcomes with that exact scenario. a) Canadian and American juniors against European pros. b) Canadian and American pros against European pros.

So here are depth charts for both scenarios. And players will be used from the:

– Canadian Hockey League (OHL, WHL, QMJHL)
– USHL
– NCAA
– German Elite League (DEL)
– Swedish Elite League (SHL)
– Finnish Elite League (Liiga)
– Swiss Elite League (NLA)
– Czech Elite League (Extraliga)
– Russian Elite League (KHL).

Sep 27, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; A general view before game one of the World Cup of Hockey final between the Team Canada and the Team Europe at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Team Canada (Overseas Pros Only)

*So these are the depth charts if overseas pros played only.

Forwards:
Wojtek WolskiDerek Roy – Nick Petersen
Daniel PailleJosh HoldenBrandon Kozun
Lucas LessioMike SantorelliMatt Halischuk
Jeff TambelliniZach BoychukSpencer Machacek
Matt D’Agostini

Defense:
Brendan MikkelsonKeaton Ellerby
Andre BenoitCam Barker
Kyle CumiskeyStefan Elliott
Danny Syvret

Goalies:
Ben Scrivens
Drew MacIntyre
Justin Pogge

*If Tournament Started Today*

Sep 22, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; A Team USA fan celebrates a goal against Team Czech Republic during preliminary round play in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Team USA (Overseas Pros Only)

Forwards:
Jerry D’Amigo – Rob SchrempMark Arcobello
Ben HanowskiDrew ShoreDan Sexton
Bill SweattNathan GerbeChad Kolarik
Casey WellmanDavid Steckel – Ryan Lasch
Jim Slater

Defense:
Bobby Sanguinetti – Jonathan Blum
James WisniewskiMatt Gilroy
Matt DonovanCorey Potter
Mike Lundin

Goalies:
David Leggio
Brandon Maxwell
Jerry Kuhn

*If Tournament Started Today*

*On a bit of a side note, if the tournament literally were to start today, Wojtek Wolski would obviously be ineligible to participate due to his recent long-term injury suffered in the KHL.  He is hoping to return before the season concludes, but that remains to be seen.

Next, check out what teams would look like with Juniors only.

Sep 24, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Team Canada fans cheer during a semifinal game against Team Russia in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey at Air Canada Centre. Canada defeated Russia 5-3. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Team Canada (CHL Players Only)

*Here are depth charts for junior players only on their respective teams.

Forwards:
Bobby Montcalm – Adam Mascherin – Taylor Raddysh
Brayden Burke – Sam Steel – Kameron Kielly
Bobby MacIntyre – Mason Shaw – Cliff Pu
Francois Beauchemin – Tyler Boland – Jordan Kyrou
Matthew Highmore

Defense:
Cody Donaghey – Samuel Girard
Joshua Mahura – Chase Harrison
Connor Hobbs – Mathieu Henderson
Simon Bourque

Goalies:
Samuel Montembeault
Connor Ingram
Logan Flodell

*If Tournament Started Today*

Sep 22, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; A Team USA fan wearing a Donald Trump mask gestures as he watches play against Team Czech Republic during preliminary round play in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Team USA (CHL, USHL & NCAA Players Only)

Forwards:
Max Jones – Ryan Moore – Alex DeBrincat
Jack Walker – Kailer Yamamoto – Mike Vecchione
Dennis Yan – Cameron Askew – Kelly Klima
Anders Bjork – Casey Mittelstadt – Keegan Iverson
Austin Albrecht

Defense:
Ryan Mantha – Keoni Texeira
Eric Israel – Connor Mackey
Neal Pionk – Jeff Taylor
Daniel Brickley

Goalies:
Joseph Woll
Parker Gahagen
Michael Bitzer

*If Tournament Started Today*

Finally, we show European team favorites with no NHL players.

Sep 18, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Swedish fans during preliminary round play in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

Team Sweden (Overseas Pros Only)

Sweden and Russia look a lot different without NHL players.

Forwards:
Linus OmarkTony MartenssonAndre Petersson
Linus KlasenJohan Sundstrom – Dragen Umicevic
Oskar Lindblom – Alexander Bergstrom – Sebastian Wannstrom
Martin Thornberg – Joel Lundqvist – Ponthus Westerholm
Erik Thorell

Defense:
Jonas Junland – Oscar Fantenberg
Henrik Tommernes – Fredrik Eriksson
Nils Andersson – Sebastian Aho
Niclas Burstrom

Goalies:
Gustaf Wesslau
Johan Gustafsson
Joel Lassinantti

*If Tournament Started Today*

Sep 19, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; A fan of Team Russia smiles as he watches the replay of a goal for his team against Team North America during preliminary round play in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Team Russia (Overseas Pros Only)

Forwards:
Alex Ovechkin – Vadim Shipachyov – Sergei Shumakov
Sergei Mozyakin – Vladimir Tkachyov – Alexander Barabanov
Ilya Kovalchuk – Alexander Torchenyuk – Maxim Shalunov
Nikita Gusev – Fyodor Malykhin – Kirill Petrov
Alexei Kopeikin

Defense:
Vyacheslav Voynov – Bogdon Kiselevich
Igor Ozhiganov – Renat Mamashev
Anton Belov – Vasili Tokranov
Kirill Koltsov

Goalies:
Ilya Sorokin
Ilya Proskuryakov
Vasili Koshechkin

*If Tournament Started Today*

Re: Ovie’s inclusion, we reference his quote, “It’s a situation when you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Alex Ovechkin said. “Obviously, I said I’m going to play.”

So when you look at these teams Russia has a clear advantage. But the other teams are very solid as well. Also, the main issue will come down to goaltending. So what will these goalies do when facing scorers like Kovalchuk and Ovechkin? Will they step up or fall apart? That’s the joy with this setup, no one knows because anything can happen, and as a result would make for some exciting hockey.

So however things work out it’s sure to be fun to watch. Just look what Team USA did to the Russians (former Soviet Union) in 1980. While the American’s were filled with College players and the Russians were full of pros that spent years together, the Americans managed to pull off one the great miracles on ice that we’ve ever seen. With the skill and size of the kids today. They will put up a fight, so perhaps it’s time for a change in scenery for Olympic hockey.

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