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- Medal Round: Best of the Projected 2022 Olympic Rosters
If the NHL allows its players to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics, Sweden could have one of the deepest teams in the tournament, especially on defense.
Mainstays Victor Hedman and Erik Karlsson will be joined by an elite cast of blueliners ready to defend Tre Kronor. Overall, Sweden will be able to field a roster full of two-way players to compete on a structured game.
But don’t let the word “structure” box you in, there will be plenty of offense to go around. Remember Elias Pettersson and William Nylander? They’ll be hitting their prime when the next Olympic Games roll around.
With that being said, let’s dive into which NHLers could make up Sweden’s roster.
Sweden’s Projected 2022 Olympic Roster
Here’s how Sweden’s roster could look when the world gathers in Beijing for the 2022 Olympic Games:
|Elias Pettersson||Mika Zibanejad||William Nylander|
|Gabriel Landeskog||Nicklas Backstrom||Gustav Nyquist|
|Filip Forsberg||William Karlsson||Viktor Arvidsson|
|Rickard Rakell||Elias Lindholm||Jakob Silfverberg|
|Lucas Raymond||Victor Olofsson|
|Victor Hedman||John Klingberg||Jacob Markstrom|
|Oliver Ekman-Larsson||Rasmus Dahlin||Robin Lehner|
|Hampus Lindholm||Erik Karlsson||Linus Ullmark|
|Mattias Ekholm||Oscar Klefbom|
Olympic Roster Breakdown
Oddly enough, four of the five starting skaters have not participated in any prior Olympic Games or the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. On the other hand, Rasmus Dahlin played for Sweden in the 2018 Olympics a few months before he was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres.
- Players from 2014 Olympic Games: 6
- Players from 2016 World Cup of Hockey: 12
- Players from 2018 Olympic Games: 1
- Players with no international experience*: 11
*Excluding World Junior Championships and World Championships.
Sweden’s 2022 Forward Group
Up front, Sweden boasts four lines (plus a couple scratches) that can score. The top line of Pettersson, Nylander, and Mika Zibanejad, in particular, could be extremely dangerous all over the ice. The trio have excellent playmaking and finishing skills. If they can form some chemistry early on in the tournament, watch out.
Sweden also has quite a bit of flexibility with their forwards. Pettersson and Filip Forsberg can both play center if called upon. In addition, Victor Olofsson can slot in as an extra skater to be a power play specialist with his lightning-quick snap shot.
Speaking of special teams, all nine forwards in Sweden’s top three lines could factor into their power play. Having Pettersson, Nylander, and Nicklas Backstrom’s vision on one power play unit could be deadly. Their penalty kill should be effective as well, with a combination of Backstrom, Gustav Nyquist (who is actually a sneaky good penalty killer), Elias Lindholm, and Viktor Arvidsson on the ice in shorthanded situations.
Finally, Lucas Raymond could draw into a few games for Sweden. Even a little bit of Olympic experience will bode well for the up-and-coming winger. Raymond and Alexander Holtz represent Sweden’s future in international showcases and the former should get some games under his belt in 2022.
Sweden’s Elite Blue Line
As I mentioned above, Sweden’s defense could be the best of any country at the Olympics. Hedman and John Klingberg will dominate possession at both ends of the ice and Rasmus Dahlin should be entering elite territory by 2022.
The fact that Mattias Ekholm and Oscar Klefbom are outside the top-six is insane. Both are go-to defensemen for their respective NHL teams. Sweden shouldn’t be worried if one of their blueliners has to miss a game – there’s plenty of depth in case of emergency.
As far as special teams go, you can plug in just about anyone to man the top power play unit. Klingberg, Hedman, Karlsson, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson are all good choices. Hedman and Hampus Lindholm would be great anchors for the penalty kill as well.
Finally, there’s a chance Henrik Lundqvist could still be playing in two years. But the best course of action for Sweden might be to pass the torch to Jacob Markstrom and Robin Lehner. The former has finally developed into a premier NHL netminder and would be a solid choice to inherit King Henrik’s crease.
Jonas Brodin, Mikael Backlund, Alexander Holtz, Carl Soderberg, Andre Burakovsky.