By Jack Fenty
What to Know Going In:
Every four years the best hockey players in the world face-off to compete for gold at the Winter Olympics. I have some news for you though; National Hockey League Players will not be participating in this tournament. This will lead to players from leagues such as the AHL, ECHL, College Hockey, Juniors (Canada), and the KHL to just name a few to compete for their respective countries. This give opportunities to players who would not be able to play in the Olympics if NHL players could play. There are upsides and downsides to this. A downside is the talent level will not be as high as it usually is. Secondly, hockey is a considerably “unpopular” game around the world. The Olympics being in South Korea would have been a perfect time for the NHL to spread the game of hockey globally. I am sure it will still grow the game but having Crosby, McDavid, Mathews, and Ovechkin would have helped. The upside is the tournament is wide open; anyone can win the gold. Overall, I am still super pumped to watch Olympic hockey; the more hockey the better.
Group A: Canada, Czech Republic, South Korea, Switzerland.
Group B: Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, United States.
Group C: Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden.
Players to Watch:
Ilya Sorokin(RUS)- Third round pick for the Islanders in the 2014 entry-level draft. In 36 games this season in the KHL Sorokin has 1.58 GAA and .930 Save percentage. If the Islanders can convince to Sorokin to come play in the NHL they will have a real stud between the pipes for years to come.
Pavel Datsyuk(RUS)- “The magician”. In 953 games for the Detroit Red Wings he has 918 points. Datsyuk will be putting on a show in South Korea with his unbelievable stick skills.
Ilya Kovalchuk(RUS)- Everyone who follows the NHL knows this guy sold out on the New Jersey Devils when he left the team in 2013 to play in the KHL. In 816 games in the NHL he had exactly 816 points. Pretty good average of points per game if you ask me. This past NHL off season Kovalchuk was rumored to want to return to the NHL. More specifically he wants to return to a team in the New York area.
Ryan Donato(USA)- A second round pick of the Boston Bruins in the 2014 draft. Donato is currently playing at Harvard and has 31 points in 23 games this season. He also played on the world junior team for USA in 2016.
Jordan Greenway(USA)- A second round pick of the Minnesota Wild in the 2015 draft. Greenway is currently playing at Boston University; he has 25 points in 28 games. Greenway also won gold for the USA in the world juniors in 2017.
Troy Terry(USA)- A fifth round pick of the Anaheim Ducks in the 2015 draft. Terry is currently playing for the University of Denver; he has 32 points in 28 games. If you have heard of this guy it is because he won gold for the World Juniors team in 2017 where he scored like a million shootout goals to lead the US victorious over Canada.
Rasmus Dahlin(SWE)- The top prospect eligible for the 2018 NHL entry draft. This guy is gooooood. All NHL fans should watch this kid play because he is going to be an elite talent in the NHL for years to come.
Wrap Up: I think hockey fans will be pleasantly surprised with the hockey in the Olympics this year. The field is wide open and there are still players on the teams that have elite skills. Enjoy and GO TEAM USA!
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