Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and Alex Ovechkin lead a list of NHL players who were the first three submitted by their respective countries to play at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
In advance of NHL player participation in the 2022 Olympics, the IIHF, NHL and NHL Players’ Association requested each of the participating teams to provide a list of three provisional NHL players to be included on each national team roster. Provided these players are healthy and remain eligible to participate, they will be included in the final team rosters that will be announced in January.
Each team will submit a list of 55 players who will be candidates for the Olympics on Oct. 15.
The tournament begins on Feb. 9 when the Russian Olympic Committee plays Switzerland (3:40 a.m. ET), the Czech Republic plays Denmark (8:10 a.m. ET), and Sweden plays Latvia (11:10 p.m. ET).
The NHL and NHLPA reached an agreement with the IIHF for NHL players to participate in the Olympics after the NHL skipped the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. The 2021-22 NHL regular season will pause from Feb. 3-22 for the 2022 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
This will be the first Olympics for McDavid, who is captain of the Edmonton Oilers and won the Hart Trophy last season voted as NHL most valuable player when he led the NHL in scoring with 105 points (33 goals, 72 assists) in 56 games. The 24-year-old helped Canada win the 2016 IIHF World Championship and played for Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey 2016.
Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Alex Pietrangelo (Vegas Golden Knights) were the other names submitted for Canada. Crosby, the Penguins captain, scored in overtime of the gold medal game to give Canada a 3-2 victory against the United States at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. The 34-year-old center was Canada’s captain at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and the World Cup, each won by Canada.
Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs), who was named to the United States roster, will also be playing in his first Olympics. The 24-year-old center led the NHL in goals (41) in 52 games last season and has scored 199 in five NHL seasons. He was joined by Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane and defenseman Seth Jones.
Ovechkin (Washington Capitals) was named to the Russian Olympic Committee roster for the fourth time. He played in the 2006 Turin Olympics (fourth place), the Vancouver Olympics (sixth) and the Sochi Olympics (fifth). The 36-year-old forward scored 42 points (24 goals, 18 assists) in 45 games last season. He is sixth in NHL history in goals (730) and had scored at least 30 goals in 15 straight seasons prior to last season.
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy were the others named to the Russian Olympic Committee roster.
Denmark, Latvia, Switzerland, Germany and Slovakia announced their first three names Friday. Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic announced their first three names on Thursday. China has yet to be announced.
Here are the players selected for the 2022 Olympics so far:
Canada: Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, Alex Pietrangelo
Czech Republic: Ondrej Palat (Lightning), David Pastrnak (Boston Bruins), Jakub Voracek (Columbus Blue Jackets)
Denmark: Oliver Bjorkstrand (Blue Jackets), Nikolaj Ehlers (Winnipeg Jets), Alexader True (Seattle Kraken)
Finland: Sebastian Aho (Carolina Hurricanes), Aleksander Barkov (Florida Panthers), Mikko Rantanen (Colorado Avalanche)
Germany: Leon Draisaitl (Oilers), Philipp Grubauer (Kraken), Moritz Seider (Detroit Red Wings)
Latvia: Rudolfs Balcers (San Jose Sharks), Zemgus Girgensons (Buffalo Sabres), Kristians Rubins (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Slovakia: Erik Cernak (Lightning), Jaroslav Halak (Vancouver Canucks) Andrej Sekera (Dallas Stars)
Sweden: Victor Hedman (Lightning), Gabriel Landeskog (Avalanche), Mika Zibanejad (New York Rangers)
Russian Olympic Committee: Nikita Kucherov, Alex Ovechkin, Andrei Vasilevskiy
Switzerland: Nico Hischier (New Jersey Devils); Timo Meier (San Jose Sharks), Roman Josi (Nashville Predators)
United States: Seth Jones, Patrick Kane, Auston Matthews