2022 Winter Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Preview & Predictions

2022 Winter Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Preview & Predictions

No NHL hockey players are permitted to play in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, making the upcoming tournament very similar to the 2018 Winter Olympics, in which the same prevention applied to NHL players. However, there are still several talented rosters picked from the Kontinental (Primarily Russian), Swedish, Finnish, Swiss, German, Czech, and Slovakian Elite Leagues, among others. The playing field is much more even than it otherwise would be if NHL players were permitted, because the vast majority of the Russian, Swedish, and Finnish rosters would have been comprised of NHL players. Not to mention, all of Team USA and Team Canada would have been NHL players. With the North American teams hampered by a shortage of players to pick from, the 2022 Winter Olympics look to be a competitive battle for the gold medal.

2022 Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament Format

Twelve hockey teams are split up into three groups of four. In the group stage, each team plays every other team in their group once for a total of three games. After the group stage, all twelve teams are placed into an overall standings by record and goal differential as the tie-breaker. The top four overall teams — with at least one team in each of the three divisions — are selected for a “bye” until the single-elimination tournament begins, while the remaining eight clubs match up for four, singular elimination qualification games. The overall one seed takes the lowest rated team that won in the qualification round, and so on. Four games occur in the first round of the single-elimination tournament, the four winning teams go on to play their opponents in the second round, and the two remaining winning teams play each other in the gold medal game, while the two second round losing teams play in the bronze medal game.

2022 Winter Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team Previews

*All odds provided by Fanduel Sportsbook

Group A

Team Canada — Team Canada has by far the most diverse group of leagues occupied by its players, as there are players being brought in from Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Germany, the NCAA, and the American Hockey League, which is the farm system for the NHL. Team Canada has several former NHL players, most notably forwards Eric Staal and David Desharnais and defenseman Jason Demers. Team Canada also has 19-year-old, №1 overall pick from the 2021 NHL Draft, defenseman Owen Power, who currently plays for the University of Michigan. The Canadien team has a wide array of player types and ages, making it one of the highest-variance teams in the tournament. Even with the disadvantages of not being able to pick from NHL players and having no native, professional league allowing players to go to Beijing, the Canadiens have a winning pedigree and a lot of pride around hockey.

Current Odds to Win Gold: +340

2018 Results: Group Stage: 3 games, 2 regulation wins, 1 overtime win, 7 points, +7 goal differential, Single-Elimination Tournament: 4 seed (Exempt from qualifying round), Defeated (5 seed) Finland 1–0, Lost to (9 seed) Germany 4–3, Defeated (2 seed) Czech Republic 6–4 in Bronze Medal Game

My Prediction for 2022: 1st/4 in Group A, Win Silver Medal

Team China — The Chinese team is entirely comprised of Hockey Club Kunlun Red Star, which is the one KHL team located on Chinese land. Kunlun Red Star is the worst KHL club, as they have won 9 total games, lost 32 regulation and 7 beyond-regulation games, and have a -97 goal differential this season. There are three players who have sniffed NHL action, but I’m expecting this team to get destroyed this olympics. In fairness, though, this Chinese team will probably hold up quite a bit better than the South Korean Team did in 2018, as South Korea lost all four of their total games in regulation with a cumulative -16 goal differential.

Current Odds to Win Gold: +10000

2018 Results: N/A

My Prediction for 2022: 4th/4 in Group A, No Medal

Team Germany — Despite their Cinderella-run to a silver medal in 2018, I am expecting the German team to pull back in the tournament this time around. The Germans are well-coached, have decent depth, and have a few former NHLers such as defenseman Korbinan Holzer and forwards Tom Kuhnhackl, Dominik Kahun, and Tobias Rieder, but nearly the entire squad has been pulled from the German Elite League, which is not one of the premium overseas ice hockey leagues.

Current Odds to Win Gold: +1600

2018 Results: Group Stage: 3 games, 1 overtime win, 2 regulation losses, 2 points, -3 goal differential, Single-Elimination Tournament: 9 seed, Defeated (8 seed) Switzerland 2–1 (OT) in Qualifying Round, Defeated (1 seed) Sweden 4–3 (OT), Defeated (4 seed) Canada 4–3, Lost to (3 seed) Russia 4–3 (OT) in Gold Medal Game (Won Silver Medal)

My Prediction for 2022: 3rd/4 in Group A, No Medal

Team USA — Team USA has smartly treated this Olympics as a World-Junior Tournament, as they have selected 15 players from the NCAA, all of whom are 23 years-old or younger. The American team also has a few pretty good veterans sprinkled into the roster, primarily from the KHL. Team USA has a wide range of outcomes for the 2022 Olympics.

Current Odds to Win Gold: +1200

2018 Results: Group Stage: 1 regulation win, 1 regulation loss, 1 overtime loss, 4 points, -4 goal differential, Single-Elimination Tournament: 7 seed, Defeated (10 seed) Slovakia 5–1 in Qualifying Round, Lost to (2 seed) Czech Republic 3–2

My Prediction for 2022: 2nd/4 in Group A, No Medal

Group B

Team Czech Republic — The Czech Republic roster has a vast array of leagues represented: KHL, Swedish, Finnish, Swiss, and native Czech. The club performed surprisingly well in the 2018 Group Stage, but fell apart in the single-elimination tournament against tougher opponents. There are a few former NHL players on the current Czech team, most notably David Krejci and Vladimir Sobotka.

Current Odds to Win Gold: +1000

2018 Results: Group Stage: 3 games, 2 regulation wins, 1 overtime win, 8 points, +5 goal differential, Single-Elimination Tournament: 2 seed (Exempt from Qualifying Round), Defeated (7 seed) USA 3–2, Lost to (3 seed) Russia 3–0, Lost to (4 seed) Canada 6–4 in Bronze Medal Game

My Prediction for 2022: 2nd/4 in Group B, No Medal

Team Denmark — Denmark has one of the weakest rosters in the tournament, as they’ve pulled players from an assortment of lower-quality European leagues, but there are three savvy veteran forwards who used to play in the NHL: Frans Nielsen, Peter Regin, and Mikkel Boedker. This team will likely struggle defensively.

Current Odds to Win Gold: +6500

2018 Results: N/A

My Prediction for 2022: 4th/4 in Group B, No Medal

Olympic Athletes from Russia — The Russian Olympic hockey team is entirely comprised of KHL players, handpicked from the league’s best clubs. Russia has the most depth across their roster of any team in this tournament, and Russia’s roster also possesses several of the most skilled players in the tournament, including Slava Voynov, Nikita Gusev, and Vadim Shipachyov. I wanted to wager on Russia to win the gold medal, but +150 are too short of odds for such a high-variance tournament style. It’s important to note that, despite winning the gold medal in 2018, Russia has lost several key contributors from their team for 2022: veteran studs Pavel Datsyuk, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Sergei Mozyakin have all retired, depth contributors Alexander Barabanov, Vladislav Gavrikov, and Artyom Zub left for the NHL, star goalies Ilya Sorokin and Igor Shestyorkin left for the NHL, and superstar forward Kirill Kaprizov — who was arguably the best player in the entire 2018 Winter Olympic Tournament — left to play for the Minnesota Wild of the NHL. Russia should certainly be the favorite to win gold, but their team has a larger battle than they did in the previous Olympic games.

Current Odds to Win Gold: +150

2018 Results: Group Stage: 3 games, 2 regulation wins, 1 regulation loss, 6 points, +9 goal differential, Single-Elimination Tournament: 3 seed (Exempt from Qualifying Round), Defeated (11 seed) Norway 6–1, Defeated (2 seed) Czech Republic 3–0, Defeated (9 seed) Germany 4–3 (OT) in the Gold Medal Game

My Prediction for 2022: 1st/4 in Group B, Win Bronze Medal

Team Switzerland — The entire Swiss Olympic hockey team has been chosen from the Swiss Elite League. Team Switzerland has a handful of former NHL players and a relatively solid group of defensemen. Scoring might be difficult for Switzerland, but they traditionally play up to their competition.

Current Odds to Win Gold: +4300

2018 Results: Group Stage: 3 games, 1 regulation win, 2 regulation losses, 3 points, +1 goal differential, Single-Elimination Tournament: 8 seed, Lost to (9 seed) Germany 2–1 (OT) in the Qualifying Round

My Prediction for 2022: 3rd/4 in Group B, No Medal

Group C

Team Finland — Finland’s roster is loaded with depth and made up of KHL, Finnish Elite League, and Swiss Elite League players. There are several former NHL players on the Finnish roster. The Finnish hockey teams tend to impress me with good coaching and how seriously they take international play. I expect the 2022 Finnish Olympic team to be a tough out and dark-horse to win the gold medal.

Current Odds to Win Gold: +380

2018 Results: Group Stage: 3 games, 2 regulation wins, 1 regulation loss, 6 points, +5 goal differential, Single-Elimination Tournament: 5 seed, Defeated (12 seed) South Korea 5–2 in Qualifying Round, Lost to (4 seed) Canada 1–0

My Prediction for 2022: 1st/4 in Group C, Win Gold Medal

Team Latvia — Latvia’s Olympic team is comprised of an assortment of lower-caliber European hockey leagues. There is one former NHL player on Team Latvia, but Latvia projects to be one of the weakest teams in the 2022 tournament.

Current Odds to Win Gold: +10000

2018 Results: N/A

My Prediction for 2022: 4th/4 in Group C, No Medal

Team Slovakia — Once upon a time, Slovakia had a solid hockey team. Going into 2022, however, Slovakia has one of the weaker rosters and is coming off of a disappointing showing in the 2018 Olympics.

Current Odds to Win Gold: +10000

2018 Results: Group Stage: 3 games, 1 regulation win, 1 regulation loss, 1 overtime loss, 4 points, -1 goal differential, Single-Elimination Tournament: 10 seed, Lost to (7 seed) USA 5–1 in Qualifying Round

My Prediction for 2022: 3rd/4 in Group C, No Medal

Team Sweden — Sweden has a solid hockey team for the 2022 Olympics that has a realistic chance to medal. Sweden’s roster is littered with former NHL players and is generally represented by the better European hockey leagues. Like its rival, Finland, Sweden tends to elevate for international play. In 2018, Sweden got off to a magnificent start, winning all three group-stage games in regulation. Sweden’s early success was burnt out quickly, however, as they were upset by Germany in a wild, second-round game. It’s important to note that two of Sweden’s best players from 2018 are not participating in the 2022 Olympics: Linus Omark and Rasmus Dahlin.

Current Odds to Win Gold: +550

2018 Results: Group Stage: 3 games, 3 regulation wins, 9 points, +7 goal differential, Single-Elimination Tournament: 1 seed (Exempt from Qualifying Round),

My Prediction for 2022: 2nd/4 in Group C, No Medal

Citations

Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, February 3). Ice hockey at the 2018 Winter Olympics — men’s team rosters. Wikipedia. Retrieved February 3, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_hockey_at_the_2018_Winter_Olympics_%E2%80%93_Men%27s_team_rosters

Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, November 4). Ice hockey at the 2018 Winter Olympics — men’s tournament. Wikipedia. Retrieved February 3, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_hockey_at_the_2018_Winter_Olympics_%E2%80%93_Men%27s_tournament

Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, February 3). Ice hockey at the 2022 Winter Olympics — men’s team rosters. Wikipedia. Retrieved February 3, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_hockey_at_the_2022_Winter_Olympics_%E2%80%93_Men%27s_team_rosters

Fanduel sportsbook. (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2022, from https://sportsbook.fanduel.com/ice-hockey/men's-winter-olympics-2022?tab=futures

Standings : Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2022, from https://en.khl.ru/standings/

--

--

--

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Rallying and Racing (Women Racers in the 1950s)

English Premier League Predicted Standings from 9/25/2020

Welcome to the REST of Week 12s OSG Report.

My Top 40 NBA Players Today

Toronto Raptors/Milwaukee Bucks Game 6 Analysis

Forever Everton: An American’s First Year as a Toffee

NHL’s New East Division Power Rankings for 2021

Los Angeles Clippers/Utah Jazz Game 3 Analysis

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Lou Pastor

Lou Pastor

More from Medium

Hot Take: The Los Angeles Rams Looked Like the Best Team in the NFL Last Night.

Tom Brady Surprise Patriots Anouncement Possible

Ben’s Top National Parks

Tom Brady clocks out . . .