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- Medal Round: Best of the Projected 2022 Olympic Rosters
With NHL players heading to the 2022 Winter Olympics, it’s worth noting that Finland could have an especially impressive roster with loads of offensive talent.
While it seems like he’s been in the NHL for a half-dozen seasons now, Patrik Laine will only be 23 years-old when the next Winter Olympics are held. In a couple years, Winnipeg’s sniper will be in his prime and lighting up the international tournament.
Apart from Laine, who else might make up Finland’s next Olympic hockey roster? Let’s dive in.
Finland’s Projected 2022 Olympic Roster
Here’s how Finland’s roster could look when the world gathers in Beijing for the 2022 Olympic Games:
|Patrik Laine||Aleksander Barkov||Mikko Rantanen|
|Teuvo Teravainen||Sebastian Aho||Kaapo Kakko|
|Mikael Granlund||Roope Hintz||Kaspari Kapanen|
|Joel Kiviranta||Jesperi Kotkaniemi||Joonas Donskoi|
|Jesse Puljujarvi||Anton Lundell|
|Esa Lindell||Miro Heiskanen||Tuukka Rask|
|Sami Vatanen||Rasmus Ristolainen||Joonas Korpisalo|
|Markus Nutivaara||Henri Jokiharju||Juuse Saros|
|Juuso Valimaki||Ville Heinola|
Olympic Roster Breakdown
Despite a high number of players returning from the 2016 World Cup of Hockey team, the rest of Finland’s roster is relatively inexperienced when it comes to international tournaments.
- Players from 2014 Olympic Games: 4
- Players from 2016 World Cup of Hockey: 10
- Players from 2018 Olympic Games: 1
- Players with no international experience*: 14
*Excluding World Junior Championships and World Championships.
Finland’s Lethal Forward Group
Alongside Laine on the top line, Aleksander Barkov and Mikko Rantanen form an impressive trio. The three elite NHL forwards will be one of the most dangerous lines in the Olympics given their unique skill sets.
Laine, Barkov, and Rantanen are so talented that they push all-around great Sebastian Aho to the second line. Imagine those four on the power play with Miro Heiskanen up top – you better not take a penalty against the Finns.
Finland also has solid depth at forward with Teuvo Teravainen, Roope Hintz, and Kasperi Kapanen playing further down in the lineup. Plus, Kaapo Kakko will have established himself as a true offensive threat by 2022.
One additional player to call out is Anton Lundell, who excels at both ends of the ice.
“When you grow up idolizing smart and responsible two-way centers like Datsyuk and Barkov, it’s no surprise you end up playing a similar style as those two. Lundell is the type of player who never cheats for offense, and just like his idols, he can make a lot of things happen offensively while at the same time being very responsible defensively.”Jokke Nevalainen, Dobber Prospects
Top to bottom, this is a deep team on offense. If they can get solid contributions from Lundell, Kakko, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, it wouldn’t be crazy to think this team can bring home a medal.
Finland’s Defense & Goaltending Depth
As far as Olympic-level defenses go, Finland’s is just OK. Sure, Heiskanen is a stud for the Dallas Stars and Esa Lindell is competent against opponents’ top players, but there’s not much elite depth otherwise.
Again, there are OK players on defense with regard to Olympic competition. Henri Jokiharju, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Sami Vatanen are fine, just not stellar options. They won’t be lights-out defenders, but can get the job down if they’re in the right position.
One player to watch, though, is Ville Heinola. The Winnipeg Jets’ blueliner could develop into a solid, two-way defenseman by the next Winter Olympics. Heinola could easily jump into the defensive top-six for Finland given his pedigree and World Junior Championship performances.
In net, it was difficult to leave Pekka Rinne off the roster, but he’ll also be 39 when the 2022 Winter Olympics are held. Tuukka Rask will only be 35 and should still be the clear starter for Finland. Antti Raanta and Juuse Saros could push for time, but, chances are, Rask will still be playing at an elite level in a couple years.
Joel Armia, Pekka Rinne, Mikko Koskinen, Valtteri Filppula, Artturi Lehkonen, Mikko Lehtonen, Erik Haula, Lassi Thomson, Rasmus Kupari, Eeli Tolvanen.
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.