Winter OS 2022 is coming fast, with just a few months before NHL stars radiate to Beijing, China to compete for their respective countries. This was announced by Hockey Canada recently Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, and Alex Pietrangelo were the first three players selected in their team, and now Sweden has announced its counterparts. Mika Zibanejad, Gabriel Landeskog, and Victor Hedman has been named Team Sweden for the 2022 Games.
Zibanejad may not have reached the incredible heights 2019-20 last season, but he is still a force for Rangers and the projects to become Sweden’s first line center at the upcoming tournament. He scored 41 goals in just 57 games during the COVID-shortened season two years ago and came back with a strong enough 50 points in 56 games last season. In fact, the center is actually a position with great strength for the Swedes this time, with Elias Pettersson, Nicklas Backstrom, Mikael Backlund, and William Karlsson all strong candidates to take a seat in the middle.
They will not be so bad on the wing either, with Landeskog already deputy for the nation at the 2014 Olympics when he was only 21. As a born leader, he has represented Sweden at every major event, including the U18 WJC, U20 WJC, world championships and WC . He took home a silver medal as part of that 2014 squad and has become a trusted points-per-player player at the NHL level, complementing world-class talent and providing versatility to all lineups.
Few NHL fans would be surprised if Hedman got the captain in Sweden, but it would actually be an interesting decision given his history with the national program. He left the 2014 team despite the obvious skill he showed in the early part of his career, with players like Johnny Oduya, Jonathan Ericsson and even 35-year-old Henrik Tallinder comes to Sochi over him. Due to the regular playoff success of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Hedman has also gone to the World Cup only once since 2013 and three times in total, and the playoffs last most seasons instead. It will be his first chance to represent his country at the Olympics, and he was an obvious choice this time.
Each participating country was required to declare three players, while the entire “long list” of 55 potential names will be submitted on October 15.
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