While nothing is 100 percent yet, we’re on the path to see NHL players participate in the Olympics again. This is undoubtedly great news for hockey fans (and the IOC’s wallets), as we will truly get best-on-best hockey in 2022 and 2026. Let’s face it: the 2018 Games in Korea will always have an asterisk next to them because the NHL skipped the proceedings and the results in no way reflected the state of the international game at the time.
Which is a roundabout way of saying that there are winners and losers in the NHL’s return to the Olympics. Let’s break it down.
I mean, no kidding, right? Canada is going to roll into 2022 with an absolute murderers’ row of talent, particularly up front. Connor McDavid and Nathan MacKinnon on the same team. A reuniting of Sidney Crosby, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand’s World Cup of Hockey line. Ryan O’Reilly, Mitch Marner and too many other options to count. A blueline that starts with Alex Pietrangelo, Thomas Chabot, Dougie Hamilton and Cale Makar. Your choice of Carey Price or Jordan Binnington as your starter, with Carter Hart as the kid soaking up the experience. Fast-forward to 2026 and you add phenoms such as Alexis Lafreniere and Shane Wright to the mix.
Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel. The Tkachuk brothers. A defense that will likely be the best in the tournament with Seth Jones, Zach Werenski, Charlie McAvoy, Jaccob Slavin and Quinn Hughes.