This is the second part to my 2022 Olympic roster series. We are going to safely assume in this series that all NHL players will be allowed to go, as predicting who won't go and boycotts just adds a mess into things.
I want to reiterate before we start that these are simply depth charts and not who I think will be linemates.
We started off with Sweden and now we switch to personally my favorite country, Russia. Since becoming "Russia", they have two medals in Men's Ice Hockey. One Silver and one Bronze. They are still looking for that first gold medal since changing from the U.S.S.R.
A roster headlined by Alexander Ovechkin, Russia is one of the few countries that will tap into a league other than NHL for their top players. As they take on a few KHL players every Olympics.
Russia debatably has the best goaltender in the world currently. They have without a doubt the best goal scorer of our generation and a solid defensive core, although I wouldn't say they have a true "star" defenseman.
Evgeny Kuznetsov (Currently banned, but reported 80% chance of being reinstated)
Russia's forwards truly stand out here as probably the second best core of forwards outside of Team Canada. Oddly enough for being one of the worlds super powers in hockey. Russia has had a horrible time developing elite defenseman. That's truly where they lack, as forward wise and goaltending wise they match with the best in the tournament. If Russia is going to get eliminated earlier than projected, it's going to be because their defenseman simply can't handle the pressure. Russia has an important mix of young and old players. Could we see an old player like Pavel Datsyuk or Ilya Kovalchuk get invited? Unlikely. How about a young star like Matvei Michkov? Basically the next Ovechkin who is completely dominating U18 as a 16 year old.
As always with Russia, anything less than gold is a failure. I just don't think they have the defensive horses to win it all.
Part 1 of the 2022 Olympic Prediction Series | Sweden: https://12ozsportsradio.com/projecting-swedens-2022-olympic-roster/