Which Blackhawks Could Represent Their Countries at the 2022 Winter Olympics?

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Which Blackhawks Could Represent Their Countries at the 2022 Winter Olympics?

Chicago Blackhawks

We went through this back in February, but things have changed significantly since then. So we’ll have another go.

On Friday morning, we learned that the NHL, NHLPA, IIHF, and IOC came to agreements for the league to send players and coaches to the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China, set to take place from February 4-20, 2022.

There are 12 teams that will participate in the 2022 Men’s Hockey tournament at the Beijing Winter Olympics: Canada, USA, Germany, Russia, Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, China, Latvia, Denmark, and Slovakia. The final three here all qualified through the Olympic qualification tournament that took place at the end of August.

The Blackhawks have no players from China, Denmark, Latvia, or Slovakia on their NHL or AHL rosters or in their prospect system. Chicago has at least one NHL, AHL, or high-level unsigned player/prospect from eight countries set to play in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, but only a handful of realistic players who could be in the mix in the next few months for Olympic selection.

USA

•   Patrick Kane
•   Alex DeBrincat
•   Connor Murphy
•   Seth Jones
•   Tyler Johnson
•   Jake McCabe

Team USA’s possible representation from the Blackhawks has shifted beyond just Patrick Kane for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics. With the season that Alex DeBrincat had in 2020-21, paired with his previous successful years in the NHL has put him back squarely into the group that would be a lock to make the U.S. roster. After the moves made by the Blackhawks this summer, you can add Seth Jones to the mix for Team USA as well. Jones last played for Team USA at the IIHF World Championships in 2014 and 2015, and was part of Team North America at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Numerous roster projections from across the hockey world have Jones playing for Team USA at the 2022 Beijing Games, and with the added caveat of having Stan Bowman as Team USA General Manager, for now, you’d think his chances of making the team are enhanced, barring an atrocious start to his Blackhawks career.

Canada

•   Jonathan Toews
•   Marc-André Fleury
•   Kirby Dach
•   Dylan Strome
•   Brandon Hagel
•   Calvin de Haan

Another country whose representation from the Blackhawks has changed since we last talked about Chicago players going to the 2022 Winter Olympics is Canada. With the addition of Marc-André Fleury this summer, the Blackhawks are likely guaranteed at least one player with Team Canada. Fleury was part of the 2010 Canadian Gold Medal team at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, but did not make an appearance in any of the games. The others listed here for Canada a long-to-very long shots to make the club, but there is intrigue around Jonathan Toews being mentioned in some roster projections around the hockey community. As much as it would be amazing to see Toews representing his country in a third Olympic Games, I’m not even sure he would have made the team for the 2018 Olympics, had NHL players gone. You would need to not only see Toews back healthy and in the lineup every night for Chicago, but he would have to be the Toews of old every night and I just don’t see that being the case at all.

Czech Republic

•   Dominik Kubalík
•   Michal Teply
•   Jakub Galvas
•   Jakub Pour

Here’s another lock for the Blackhawks at the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics. Dominik Kubalík is one of the top Czech players in the league and he will undoubtedly be playing in Beijing in February. He represented the Czech Republic at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and then again at the 2019, 2020, and 2021 IIHF World Championships, where he has tallied  at total of 28 points in 30 games across those competitions. Also, don’t sleep on defenseman Jakub Galvas potentially making an impact with the Rockford IceHogs this season and maybe finding his way onto the Czech defensive group. Galvas played with the Czech World Juniors squad in 2018 and 2019 and was on the Euro Hockey Tour rosters for the past four years (2018-2021).

Germany

•   Lukas Reichel

One representative and one lock for Team Germany from the Blackhawks. 2020 first-round pick Lukas Reichel is coming to North America this season to play his first professional season under the Blackhawks umbrella. He has a chance, a decent one, to make the NHL roster out of training camp later this month and if not, will end up playing significant time in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs. Reichel has played the last two seasons in the German DEL with Eisbären Berlin, skating in 80 games and tallying 51 points. He has played for Germany at the 2020 World Junior Championships and again at the 2021 IIHF World Championships this past summer.

Switzerland

•   Philipp Kurashev

Another one-for-one for the Blackhawks, Philipp Kurashev should be a lock to make the Swiss roster for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Kurashev had a breakout rookie season with Chicago in 2020-21, skating in 54 games with 16 points. He’ll likely see an increase in minutes and responsibility this season with the Blackhawks and, barring a terrible first-half of the NHL season, will be a fixture for Team Switzerland. Kurashev has represented his country before at the World Junior Championships in 2018 and 2019, as well as the IIHF World Championships in 2019 and 2021.

Finland

•   Kevin Lankinen

Oh baby, a triple! Yes, a third one-for-one for the Blackhawks at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Kevin Lankinen will end up being the backup to Marc-André Fleury for Chicago this season after playing his way into the starter role last season over Malcolm Subban and Collin Delia. Lankinen helped keep Chicago in playoff contention for just about two-thirds of the 2020-21 season before fizzling-out toward the end of the year. Hard to blame him in his rookie NHL season and having never starter that many games in one calendar year before. Behind Jusse Saros and former Blackhawk Antti Raanta, Lankinen should end up the third option for the Finns in net. Lankinen previously represented Finland at the 2019 IIHF World Championships, backstopping them to a Gold Medal.

Sweden

•   Alexander Nylander

Aaaand this is where the streak ends. Chicago, once a hot-spot for Swedish talent in the NHL, is no-longer at that level. In fact, the only skater in the NHL or AHL for the Blackhawks that is from Sweden this season will be Alexander Nylander. Arvid Söderblom will be with the IceHogs in net this season, but you think he’d actually compete in a talent pool that includes Robin Lehner, Jakob Marsktrom, Linus Ullmark, and Filip Gustavsson? I don’t (no offense). Nylander will not be competing for a roster spot with Sweden at the upcoming Winter Olympics, because he’s competing just for a roster spot in the NHL with the Blackhawks. Coming off a knee injury that caused him to miss all of the 2020-21 season and having yet to truly establish himself as a full-time NHL player, Nylander has a challenging season ahead of him. His brother William, on the other hand, will be going to Beijing.

Russia

•   Andrei Altybarmakyan
•   Max Shalunov (unsigned)

Russia, or the ROC, is too deep with top NHL and KHL talent for a minor-leaguer like Andrei Altybarmakyan to be considered and I think the time has passed for Max Shalunov to be looked at as a top Russian player. But, you can watch former Blackhawks Artemi Panarin, Nikita Zadorov, and Artem Anisimov play for Team Russia, I mean the ROC, during the 2022 Winter Olympics.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.