Projecting The United States’ 2022 Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey Roster: Which Capitals Might Play In Beijing?

Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

With the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in China set to start on February 4, the NHL is expected to allow players to participate as outlined in the last Collective Bargaining Agreement. That is expected to be finalized within the next few weeks as the league finalizes its plans and schedule for the 2021-22 season. NoVa Caps projects the 25-man roster that will represent the red, white, and blue in Beijing.

Left Wings

Alex DeBrincat, Chicago Blackhawks – The 23-year-old led all American left wings with an average of 1.08 points-per-game this past season. He finished with 32 goals (second among American skaters) and 56 points in 52 games. DeBrincat has eclipsed 28 goals and 52 points in all but one of his four NHL seasons.

Max Pacioretty, Vegas Golden Knights – The 32-year-old posted 24 goals and 51 points in 48 games this season. Pacioretty has hit the 30-goal mark and 60-point mark six times during his 13-year NHL career and was on pace to hit 41 goals in an 82-game season in 2020-21.

Jake Guentzel, Pittsburgh Penguins – The 26-year-old finished this season with 23 goals and 57 points in 56 games, the second straight year in which he averaged more than a point-per-game. He hit the 40-goal mark during the 2018-19 season and has scored at least 16 goals and 33 points in each of his first five NHL seasons.

Kyle Connor, Winnipeg Jets – The 24-year-old scored at least 31 goals in each of his first three full NHL seasons and averaged at least a point-per-game (73 in 71) for the first time in 2019-20. He finished the 2020-21 season with 26 goals and 50 points in 56 games.

Jason Robertson, Dallas Stars – The 21-year-old recorded 17 goals and 45 points in 51 games in his rookie season, leading all American first-years in each category. Robertson is nominated for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the season.

Centers

Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs – The 23-year-old led the NHL in goals with 41 and finished with 66 points in just 52 games this season. Matthews has recorded at least 34 goals in each of his first five NHL seasons, hitting 40 three times (including 47 in 70 games in 2019-20) and has averaged at least a point-per-game in four straight seasons.

Joe Pavelski, Dallas Stars – What would this team be without Captain America? The 36-year-old posted 25 goals and 51 points in 56 games this past season and was on pace to hit the 35-goal mark for the fifth time in his 15-year NHL career.

Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres – The 24-year-old played in only 21 games this season, finishing with just two goals and 18 points. He averaged more than a point-per-game in each of the previous two seasons and hit at least 56 points in each of his first five.

J.T. Miller, Vancouver Canucks – The 28-year-old recorded at least 22 goals and 43 points in three straight seasons from 2015-18. After a down season with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2018-19, where he still finished with 34 assists and 47 points in 75 games, Miller has recorded 76 assists and 118 points in 122 games over the past two seasons with the Canucks.

Vincent Trocheck, Carolina Hurricanes – The 27-year-old had an impressive first full season in Carolina where he tallied 26 assists and 43 points in 47 games. Trocheck has dipped since a 31-goal, 75-point season with the Florida Panthers in 2017-18 but had himself a renaissance season in 2020-21. He recorded two seasons with 50+ points from 2015-17.

Right Wings

Patrick Kane, Blackhawks – The 32-year-old recorded his second consecutive 51-assist season and had 66 points in 56 games this past season. Kane has averaged at least a point-per-game eight times in the past nine seasons, including two seasons with more than 105 points over that time. Kane has never finished a season with fewer than 55 points during his 14-season NHL career.

Blake Wheeler, Jets – After two consecutive seasons posting 91 points, including a 71-assist campaign in 2018-19, the 34-year-old has seen his production dip with 37 goals and 111 points in 121 games since. Though, he has four seasons with at least 48 helpers and 74 points since 2016-17.

Brock Boeser, Canucks – The 24-year-old has finished with at least 23 goals and 49 points in three of his first four full NHL seasons and missed time during the one year he did not hit that mark. Boeser recorded 23 goals and 49 points in 56 games this past season.

T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals The 34-year-old recorded 22 goals and 43 points in 53 games this past season and has been on pace to hit 30 goals in each of the past three had he stayed healthy and the past two seasons were not abbreviated. He has hit at least 50 points and 20 goals six times in his career, respectively.  And, of course, he has some experience from past Olympics that should secure him a spot on the roster.

Left-Handed Defensemen

Quinn Hughes, Canucks – The 21-year-old was the runner-up for the Calder Trophy in 2019-20 when he finished with eight goals and 53 points in 68 games. He finished this past season with 38 assists and 41 points in 56 games.

Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets – The 23-year-old played just 35 games in 2020-21, recording seven goals and 20 points over that time. He recorded at least 11 goals and 37 points in each of his first five NHL seasons, including a 20-goal campaign in 2019-20.

Torey Krug, St. Louis Blues – The 30-year-old’s goal total fell off in his first season with St. Louis but he recorded at least 39 points in each of his first seven NHL seasons with the Bruins.

Jakob Chychrun, Arizona Coyotes – The 23-year-old led all NHL defensemen with 18 goals this past season and finished with 41 points in 56 games after setting career-highs in goals (12), assists (14), points, (26), and plus-minus (+4) in 63 games in 2019-20. Chychrun has hit at least five goals and 20 points in each of the four seasons where he has played more than 50 games while also serving as a steady defensive presence.

Right-Handed Defensemen

Adam Fox, New York Rangers – The 23-year-old has excelled at both ends of the ice in each of his first two NHL seasons as he has recorded 13 goals, 89 points, and a +41 rating in 125 career games. Fox is a Norris Trophy candidate this season and the league’s top blueliner after he recorded 42 assists, 47 points, and a +19 rating.

John Carlson, Capitals The 31-year-old’s production declined with just 10 goals and 44 points in 52 games this season but defense improved after he was the runner-up for the Norris Trophy last season. He led all NHL defensemen with 60 assists and 75 points in 69 games in 2019-20.

Jeff Petry, Montreal Canadiens – The 33-year-old has recorded at least 11 goals and 40 points in each of the past four seasons. Petry has also hit at least 30 assists three times over that span and improved defensively this season with the best plus-minus rating of his NHL career.

Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins – The 23-year-old posted five goals, 30 points, and a +22 rating in 51 games this season and has finished with no lower than five goals, 28 points, and a +14 rating in each of his first four NHL seasons.

Goaltenders

Connor Hellebuyck, Jets – After winning the Vezina Trophy for the first time in his career in 2019-20 when he went 31-21-5 with a .922 save percentage, a 2.57 goals-against average, and six shutouts, the 28-year-old turned in another solid season where he went 24-17-3 with a .916 save percentage, a 2.58 goals-against average, and four shutouts. Hellebuyck was also nominated for the award, which is given to league’s top goalie, in 2017-18.

Thatcher Demko, Canucks – In his first full season as the starter in Vancouver, the 25-year-old went 16-18-1 with a .915 save percentage, a 2.85 save percentage, and one shutout. He posted a .985 save percentage, a 0.64 goals-against average, and one shutout in three games during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Alex Nedeljkovic, Hurricanes – The 25-year-old was nominated for the Calder Trophy after going 15-5-3 with a .932 save percentage (third in the NHL), a 1.90 goals-against average (second), and three shutouts in his rookie season where he grabbed the No. 1 job in Carolina and ran with it.

Capitals That Could Make Other Teams

  • LW Alex Ovechkin (Russia)
  • LHD Dmitry Orlov (Russia)
  • G Ilya Samsonov (Russia)
  • G Vitek Vanecek (Czech Republic)
  • LHD Michal Kempny (Czech Republic)
  • C Nicklas Backstrom (Sweden)
  • LW Carl Hagelin (Sweden)
  • RW Daniel Sprong (Netherlands)
  • C Lars Eller (Denmark)
  • C Aliaksei Protas (Belarus)
  • LHD Tobias Geisser (Switzerland)
  • G Henrik Lundqvist (Sweden)

* Martin Fehervary has been invited to attend Slovakia’s training camp in August, but has yet to receive formal approval from the Capitals. (More here.)

* Evgeny Kuznetsov was suspended for four years in May, 2019.

Former Capitals That Could Make Other Teams

  • RW Jakub Vrana (Czech Republic)
  • RW Richard Panik (Slovakia)
  • LHD Zdeno Chara (Slovakia)
  • LHD Jonas Siegenthaler (Switzerland)
  • LW Andre Burakovsky (Sweden)
  • G Philipp Grubauer (Germany)
  • RHD Radko Gudas (Czech Republic)

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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3 Responses to Projecting The United States’ 2022 Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey Roster: Which Capitals Might Play In Beijing?

  1. Diane Doyle says:

    Although Chychun has competed for Team Canada in the past as he is a dual citizen. (His dad is Canadian.)

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