The Bruins are getting a well-deserved bye week. We here at Bruins Daily, however, don’t have that luxury. So, to make the most of the next few days, your’s truly and Tim Rosenthal came up with an idea to project the men’s hockey rosters for this year’s Winter Olympics if they included the talented players from the National Hockey League.
The 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia brought success for Team Finland. After upsetting the host country in Russia in the quarterfinals, the Fins found themselves one win away from the gold medal game.
A 2-1 loss to Sweden in the semifinals set up a date between Finland and Team USA for the bronze medal. The Finns dominated the U.S. and earned bronze for the second Olympics in a row.
The 2016 World Cup of Hockey was a disappointing one for Team Finland as they were eliminated from playoff contention after going 0-3 in pool play.
Here’s what a potential Finland roster would look like if NHLers were allowed to participate in the 2018 winter games.
Forwards: Patrick Laine, Mikael Granlund, Valtteri Filppula, Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, Aleksander Barkov, Leo Komarov, Erik Haula, Mikko Koivu, Joonas Donskoi, Mikko Rantanen, Jesse Puljujarvi, Markus Granlund, Lauri Korpikoski
Rationale: A solid top-six forward group would make Finland competitive, but that’s about it offensively. Even with a solid defensive core and a good group of goalies, Finland’s offensive firepower is a bit too lackluster.
Defensemen: Oli Maatta, Rasmus Ristolainen, Sami Vatanen, Ville Pokka, Miro Heiskanen, Markus Nutivaara, Esa Lindell, Julius Honka
Rationale: Much like the Fins’ offense, their defense is solid up front. The top two pairs are very serviceable and can keep offenses like Russia, Canada and USA at bay. They lack any depth on their third d-pair, but a heavy load of their top two pairs could get the job done for Finland.
Goalies: Pekka Rinne, Tuukka Rask, Antti Raanta
Rationale: Not much has changed between the pipes for Finland. Led by their two-headed monster of Rinne and Rask, the Finlands boast one of the Olympics’ best goalie duos.