If NHL players can participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics, several Detroit Red Wings could be heading to Beijing for the tournament.
It remains to be seen if NHLers will be allowed to return to Olympic competition – the NHL has not made a decision yet, despite player and International Olympic Committee interest. That being said, having a presence in a huge economic market like China would be a wise move for the league.
In the meantime, let’s dive in and evaluate Detroit’s likely Olympic participants.
Dylan Larkin – USA
Though he’ll slot in behind Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel down the middle for Team USA, Dylan Larkin figures to have a prominent role at the next Olympics. Larkin’s speed, ability to kill penalties, and scoring touch make him a dynamic third-line center candidate for what’s likely to be a highly dangerous team.
Detroit’s young star could also reunite with former Belle Tire teammates Kyle Connor and Zach Werenski. Connor, in particular, could ride shotgun to Larkin on the third line.
Filip Hronek & Filip Zadina – Czech Republic
Two of Detroit’s top young stars could play important roles on Czech Republic’s next Olympic team. Filip Hronek and Filip Zadina will likely skate in the top half of the lineup and factor into special teams plans as well.
After a stellar 2019 World Championship, it’s fair to label Hronek as the Czech’s best defenseman. He’ll man the point on the power play and be on the ice during all key situations. Zadina should have a role on the power play as well and figures to skate on the second line alongside David Krejci and Jakub Voracek.
Moritz Seider – Germany
Chances are, Moritz Seider will be Germany’s top defenseman at the next Winter Games. I would also bet that Detroit’s blue line prospect will be deserving of the responsibilities that come with being a No. 1 defenseman by that time as well.
Alongside Korbinian Holzer, Seider will likely lead Germany in ice time. He’ll play in all situations and be relied upon late in games – whether that’s trying to tie it up or preserve the lead. He already has experience playing against older competition on the world stage after skating with Germany at the 2019 World Championship, so this role shouldn’t phase Seider too much.
Joren Van Pottelberghe – Switzerland
Heading into the 2022 Winter Olympics, Switzerland will have a difficult decision to make on how to approach their goaltending situation. On one hand, aging-but-effective Leonardo Genoni and Tobias Stephan were relied upon during the 2018 Winter Games. But on the other, Joren Van Pottelberghe and Gilles Senn are likely the future in net for Switzerland.
Van Pottelberghe likely won’t have a major role with Senn and Reto Berra ahead of him on the depth chart. It’s still possible, however, that he could see some ice time to gain experience for the 2026 Olympics.
Frans Nielsen & Malte Setkov – Denmark
Denmark still needs to qualify for the 2022 Winter Games, but there’s a chance that both Frans Nielsen and Malte Setkov could be named to the team. There’s also a chance, though, that Nielsen will no longer be with the Red Wings in two years.
Setkov, on the other hand, has been Denmark’s go-to defenseman during the 2018 and 2019 World Junior Championships. He likely won’t be in the NHL yet or even pushing for a job with the Red Wings, but given Denmark’s relatively small talent pool, he’ll likely be a part of their next Olympic squad.
Other Projected 2022 Olympic Rosters
At this time, no Red Wings figure to join these Olympic teams. That being said, crazier things have happened.
Tony Wolak is based in the Washington D.C. area and covers the Detroit Red Wings for THW. As a former junior and college hockey player, Tony has a unique perspective on Red Wings topics.