Projecting the 2022 U.S. Olympic Men’s Hockey Team

Editor’s Note: This roster projection was published prior to the NHL pulling out of the 2022 Winter Olympics. An updated roster projection without NHL players can be found here.

With NHL players reportedly heading to the 2022 Winter Olympics, Team USA figures to be one of the best. Beijing presents a huge opportunity for USA Hockey and the NHL.

Auston Matthews Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews is primed to be Team USA’s top player at the next Olympic Games. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The NHL clearly views China as an enormous opportunity with untapped economic potential. Sending its players to the 2022 Olympic Games will have a major impact on gaining a foothold in China.

But with the next Winter Games quickly approaching, what might Team USA’s roster look like? Let’s dive in.

Projected 2022 U.S. Olympic Team Roster

Here’s how the United States men’s hockey team could fill out when the world gathers in Beijing for the 2022 Olympic Games:

Johnny Gaudreau Auston Matthews Patrick Kane
Kyle Connor Jack Eichel Brock Boeser
Jake Guentzel Dylan Larkin Max Pacioretty
Brady Tkachuk J.T. Miller Matthew Tkachuk
Alex DeBrincat Jack Hughes  
Zach Werenski Seth Jones Connor Hellebuyck
Quinn Hughes John Carlson John Gibson
Adam Fox Charlie McAvoy Thatcher Demko
Torey Krug Jaccob Slavin  

Olympic Roster Breakdown

While there are a few familiar faces like Patrick Kane and Ryan Suter, the majority of players will be participating in their first Olympics.

  • Players from 2014 Olympic Games: 3
  • Players from 2016 World Cup of Hockey (Team USA): 3
  • Players from 2016 World Cup of Hockey (Team North America): 8
  • Players with no international experience*: 13

*Excluding World Junior Championships and World Championships.

Team USA Forwards

Remember when Team North America took the 2016 World Cup of Hockey by storm? Most of their U.S.-born forwards will be leading the United States Olympic team in a couple years. Auston Matthews, Jack Eichel, and Johnny Gaudreau highlight a deep forward group with speed to burn.

Kane is the elder statesman of the forward lineup and will likely still have some gas in the tank in 2022. He’s only gotten better since the 2014 Olympic Games and may not regress as quickly as others his age. Plus, skating with Matthews and Gaudreau will surely spark otherworldly offensive creativity.

Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
How much Patrick Kane will have in the tank by 2022? (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

Team USA could also have one of the most potent power plays of the Olympics. Imagine Kane, Matthews, Eichel, and Brock Boeser floating around the offensive zone – each of them capable of dishing and launching one-timers. World domination at its finest.

Finally, that fourth line could be dangerous – literally. Miller centering the Tkachuk boys will be a sight to see. There typically isn’t that much hitting and intimidation in international tournaments, but this added element—plus their offensive abilities—could be a difference-maker for Team USA.

Defending the United States

On defense, the U.S. has a dynamic group of blueliners who could light up the scoresheet. Zach Werenski, John Carlson, Adam Fox, and Quinn Hughes are all capable of scoring 20-plus goals in an NHL regular season and can light the lamp from just about anywhere – quarterbacking a power play, sneaking in down low, joining the rush late, or just firing pucks through traffic during sustained offensive zone time.

John Carlson Washington Capitals
John Carlson may be Team USA’s best all-around defenseman. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

But their contributions won’t be limited to scoring goals – this is a true possession domination team. All six starting defensemen typically suppress a high amount of chances against and can move the puck out of the zone well. Simply put, they’re smart, efficient rearguards.

In net, you could start either Connor Hellebuyck or John Gibson and be happy with the results. Both are elite goaltenders who will be even better with a strong team in front of them. And unless Spencer Knight sets the NHL on fire next season, Thatcher Demko figures to be the third goalie.

Just Missed Out

Anders Lee, Cam Atkinson, T.J. Oshie, Clayton Keller, Chris Kreider, Vincent Trocheck, Bryan Rust, Brock Nelson, Blake Wheeler, Kevin Hayes, Brandon Carlo, Ryan McDonagh, Jacob Trouba, Jeff Petry, Ryan Suter.

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