The Olympic Games do not get underway until the last two weeks of February, but SB Nation is counting off each potential Olympian playing in the NHL over the next two weeks. Here's a look at which Atlanta Thrashers may be headed to Vancouver in the spring.
Pack Your Bags
Christoph Schubert will attend given the paucity of German born NHL players. To be honest I don't know anything about German players playing in Europe, but looking at their list of Olympic candidates, I would expect him to be in their top four defenseman.
Nearly A Lock
Pavel Kubina is another near lock to represent his team in the spring. He may have lost a step but he still plays big minutes and key situations in the NHL against elite level opponents.
Fairly Safe Bet
Tobias Enstrom should qualify as one of the top 7 defensemen from Sweden. I would rank Lidstrom, Kronwall and Ohlund ahead of him, but Enstrom should be the next four along with Victor Hedman, Oduja, and Tallinder. The tiny defender has proven very adept at playing in small North America rinks against large NHL players.
Ilya Nikulin--OK he's not a Thrasher at the moment, but the team did draft him way back in 2000. Each summer Thrashers fans are treated to rumors he might sign and come to Atlanta. But Nikulin is a big star in the KHL (a starter in their All-Star Game) and has represented his nation at the World Championships. Thrasher fans will get a look at what they have been missing all these years.
In A Battle
Work To Do
Rich Peverley is in the top 20 in scoring in the NHL and will likely get almost no consideration for Team Canada. That's the nature of the beast when you're from north of the border. Many good hockey Canadian hockey players have no chance.
has been nothing short of spectacular this season. He's leading all NHL defensemen in goals and can also supply a good hit here and there. Thrashers GM Don Waddell is part of the selection committee and makes reports on prospective Team USA members. I would expect that Bogosian's name will be discussed at length.