6 Things to Know About The 2022 US Olympics Men’s Hockey Roster
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This year’s Olympic team will be devoid of active NHL players. The league chose not to send them to Beijing instead to forego the Olympic break to make up for games missed due to COVID-19. With no NHL players on Olympic rosters, this year’s competition will likely introduce spectators to a large number of the players that will compete and a chance for some of the players to establish themselves as household names before their professional careers begin.
The 2022 US Olympics
1. The US chose to send a younger team to Beijing. Team USA presently has fifteen players playing college hockey in the NCAA. The squad includes Jake Sanderson (Ottawa Senators) and Brendan Brisson (Vegas Golden Knights). Brian O’Neill, 33, is the sole American on the 2018 Olympic team and has appeared in just 22 NHL games. In the Pyeongchang Games quarterfinals, the United States lost 3-2 in a shootout to Czechia.
2. Matty Beniers is set to make a mark in Beijing. Beniers’ name may be recognizable to some hockey fans, as the Seattle Kraken selected him as the No. 2 overall choice in the 2021 NHL Draft. Beniers, who is only 19 years old, is the youngest player on the United States squad. In his sophomore season at Michigan, he has 15 goals and 17 assists in 26 games. Beniers was chosen to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team during his freshman season at Michigan.
This is not the first time Beniers has represented the United States on a grand scale. The Michigan product competed for the Americans at the 2021 IIHF World Championship, where he helped his country earn a bronze medal. Beniers scored a goal and assisted in six games at the IIHF World Championship.
3. Nathan Smith of Minnesota State, the NCAA’s current leading scorer and a former Winnipeg Jets draft pick, is also on the roster. Additionally, the team will feature two past Toronto draught picks who are now playing college hockey: forwards Matthew Knies (Minnesota) and Nick Abruzzese (Michigan) (Harvard).
4. This year’s roster is the youngest (25.1 years old) in 28 years, owing to the squad’s predominance of NCAA athletes. Eight of the ten collegiate players have been drafted by an NHL team, excluding minors. Nathan Smith, the Jets’ third-round pick in 2018, now leads Division I with 33 points in 22 games for No. 1 Minnesota State.
5. Pat Nagle, the team’s 34-year-old goaltender, is the team’s senior statesman. He was a three-year starter with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye, posting a 68-24-7 record and. a 916 save percentage. He is unbeaten in eight games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the Flyers AHL affiliate.
6. The team’s 23-man roster is completed by defensemen David Warsofsky and Brian Cooper. Warsofsky appeared in 55 games with the Bruins, Penguins, Devils, and Avalanche over five seasons, while Cooper was a former Ducks prospect.
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