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- Medal Round: Best of the Projected 2022 Olympic Rosters
In two years, Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Sometime between now and then, the NHL will make a decision on whether or not its players will be allowed to participate in the international tournament. That duration could be enough time for the Czech government to settle on one name for their country, but I’m not making any promises.
So if NHL players compete in the next Winter Olympics, Czech Republic could send a relatively young roster with David Pastrnak leading the way. Additionally, their goaltending could be a strength with a handful of Czech netminders playing quality hockey at the NHL level.
With that being said, let’s take a look at what Czech Republic’s roster could look like in a couple years.
Czech Republic’s Projected 2022 Olympic Roster
Heading into the 2022 Winter Games, here’s how Czech Republic’s depth chart could round out with NHLers available to participate.
|Jakub Vrana||Tomas Hertl||David Pastrnak|
|Filip Zadina||David Krejci||Jakub Voracek|
|Dominik Kubalik||Martin Necas||Ondrej Kase|
|Radek Faksa||Pavel Zacha||Ondrej Palat|
|Jan Jenik||Filip Chytil|
|Michal Kempny||Filip Hronek||Petr Mrazek|
|Libor Hajek||Radko Gudas||Pavel Francouz|
|Jan Rutta||Radim Simek||David Rittich|
|David Musil||Tomas Kundratek|
Olympic Roster Breakdown
Compared to the rest of the world, the Czechs could have a relatively inexperienced roster when it comes to international tournaments.
- Players from 2014 Olympic Games: 4
- Players from 2016 World Cup of Hockey: 7
- Players from 2018 Olympic Games: 3
- Players with no international experience*: 14
*Excluding World Junior Championships and World Championships.
Sneaky Good Offense
Make no mistake, Pastrnak and Tomas Hertl will be the drivers of Czech Republic’s offense. The two NHL All-Stars can score in bunches and thrive on the power play. It will be interesting to see if Hertl and Pastrnak stick together throughout the tournament or are split up to create offense on two lines instead.
Next up on the depth chart are a handful of players who can provide secondary scoring. Veterans David Krejci and Jakub Voracek should still be effective by the time this tournament is held and can set up teammates well on the power play. These two will also bring valuable leadership skills to the locker room.
In addition, Filip Zadina, Martin Necas, and Jakub Vrana represent the next wave of Czech talent. Zadina, in particular, has loads of offensive skill and could be right up there with Hertl and Pastrnak in terms of scoring. However, he may be pushed to the second power play unit with Voracek typically lining up on Zadina’s usual right flank position.
Rounding out the forward group are a couple wild cards. By 2022, Jan Jenik could be a key contributor at the NHL level, albeit a young NHLer. Likewise, Ondrej Kase could be a consistently dangerous top-six wing with a scoring touch. They could be valuable forwards for the Czechs, pushing for top-six ice time, or also fall short of those expectations and settle into depth roles.
Czech Defense & Goaltending Depth
Let’s not sugarcoat it, Czech Republic’s defense isn’t very deep. Filip Hronek is a solid, all-situations defenseman, but isn’t exactly an Olympic-level, top-pairing blueliner. The same goes for Michal Kempny, whose calling card is more on the defensive side of the puck.
Overall, Hronek will be the Czech’s go-to defenseman. He can quarterback the power play effectively and contribute on the penalty kill as well. It would not be surprising to see Hronek play upwards of 25 minutes per game during the tournament.
There’s not much to see moving down the depth chart. Radko Gudas’ best days are behind him now, let alone in 2022. Libor Hajek could be adequate against stronger competition, but isn’t going to contribute much offensively.
That being said, Czech Republic does have great depth in net. All three netminders—Petr Mrazek, Pavel Francouz, and David Rittich—could start. The Czechs could go with the hot hand to fuel internal competition. Either way, they’ll have a solid option to start against the world’s best.
Jakub Zboril, Roman Polak, Martin Frk, Martin Kaut, Michael Frolik, Vladimir Sobotka, Michal Jordan, Andrej Sustr, Dmitrij Jaskin, Jan Kovar, Roman Horak, Jiri Sekac, Lukas Radil.