As the 2018 Winter Olympics quickly approaches, this will be the first time since the 1988 Winter Olympics that a member of the United States team will not have an NHL player on it. Even though the 2018 Olympic team has yet to take the ice in PyeongChang, South Korea, I’d like to try and construct Team USA’s 2022 roster. Although it seems to be a complete toss up this year, if NHL players return to Olympic rosters in 2022 Canada will once again be the favorite for gold. However, with the consistent development of quality US born players, I think Team USA has the ability to select a very fast and skilled team.
*My team will most likely look different from your team as it can be hard enough to predict this year’s Olympic roster let alone a roster including the best from four years from now. Seeing as it’s impossible to predict the ability of players who have yet to come into the league, I will be going off of current stats and past international rosters.
Alright now lets get started. Considering the fact that the United States has not won a medal at the Winter Olympics since 2010, I’m going to try and do my best to create a roster that blends grit, toughness and leadership with speed and skill. In no particular order here’s the forward lineup that I’ve selected for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Johnny Gaudreau – Auston Matthews – Patrick Kane
Clayton Keller – Jack Eichel – Blake Wheeler
Brandon Saad – Dylan Larkin – Brock Boeser
Max Pacioretty – Vincent Trocheck – Anders Lee
Extras: Joe Pavelski, James Van Riemsdyk
In my opinion this lineup not only brings in veteran leadership who have played in the Olympics before, but also includes the rising stars from the United States who will likely be leading the charge four years from now. This roster heavily takes from the Team North America lineup in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey including players like Auston Matthews, Johnny Gaudreau, Jack Eichel, Brandon Saad and Dylan Larkin. Although all still 23 or young, four years from now when the Olympics come around again many of these players will either be in the prime of their careers or just about to enter it. Although these aren’t necessarily the exact line combinations I would use, there’s something about Auston Matthews and Patrick Kane playing together that’s exhilarating.
As for the defense, this is where I think the most fun could be had. Like the forwards, the United States has had an explosion of exciting, young defenseman ,who by 2022, should be able to step into an international role and help re-establish America on the big stage. My choices for defensive pairings will again pull a bit from Team North America’s roster, but also keep some players that have previously played for the United States.
Ryan Suter – Seth Jones
Zach Werenski – Charlie McAvoy
Ryan McDonagh – Shayne Gostisbehere
Extras: Justin Faulk, Cam Fowler
Finally, goaltending is something that will likely see the most amount of changes. Even though they’ve been some of the best American goaltenders Jonathan Quick, Jimmy Howard, Cory Schneider and Ryan Miller are all above 30 years old and would be mid to late 30s by the time of the next Olympics. If they can remain competitive in the NHL up until that time then they may crack the roster, but I’ve decided to go with more youth on this one.
Extra: Jonathan Quick
It truly is sad that we won’t get to see the NHL’s best represent their respective nations during the Olympics this February, but hopefully by 2022 they will return. Although it can be extremely difficult to try and pick a roster when there is so much talent, I think this lineup would seriously give the United States a chance to medal for the first time since 2010.