As the Olympic hockey tournaments reach their conclusions—Canada beat the United States to take gold in the women’s tournament, while the men’s semifinals start Thursday night—we’re feeling nostalgic for Winter Games past. (And not just because Canada and the United States have already been booted from the men’s bracket.)
This week’s NHL power rankings lean into that nostalgia by identifying the best Olympian from every NHL team.
The rules: The player had to be a member of the team at the time of the Olympics (or close to it, as you’ll see in a few cases). As a result, most of the representatives were featured in the five Winter Games from 1998 through 2014, when the NHL allowed its players to participate. The league opted out of the ’18 and ’22 Games, but maybe in ’26 we’ll be able to shake up these choices.
32. Montreal Canadiens
Last week: 32
Carey Price (2014). The Canadian goaltender recorded two shutouts at the Sochi Games, including a 3–0 win against Sweden in the gold medal game. He finished the tournament with the best goals-against average (0.59) and save percentage (.972), and he played 123 minutes more than the next closest goaltender.
31. Arizona Coyotes
Last Week: 31
Ilya Bryzgalov (2010). In his third and final Olympic appearance, the Russian netminder finished with a .942 save percentage, second only to Ryan Miller of Team USA at the Vancouver Games. But his team failed to medal, falling in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Canada.
30. Philadelphia Flyers
Last week: 28
Antero Niittymäki (2006). Yes, another goalie, this time one from the Winter Games in Turin, Italy. Niittymäki made the Finnish team only after Kari Lehtonen and Miikka Kiprusoff had to pull out due to injuries, but he ended up leading his country to a second-place finish and was named the most valuable player in the tournament.
29. New Jersey Devils
Last week: 29
Zach Parise (2010). The American winger scored with 25 seconds left to force overtime in the gold medal game against home team Canada, but Team USA ended up losing 3–2. Still, Parise finished the Olympics with four goals and eight points, both tied for second-most in the tournament.
28. Buffalo Sabres
Last week: 30
Ryan Miller (2010). The goaltender earned MVP honors despite being on the losing side of the above-mentioned gold medal game in Vancouver. He played a tournament-high 355 minutes and posted a tournament-best 1.35 goals-against average and .947 save percentage.
27. Seattle Kraken
Last week: 25
Matty Beniers (2022). The University of Michigan’s points leader (36 on the season) and the Kraken’s No. 2 pick in the 2021 draft was the youngest player on Team USA’s Olympic roster this year. The 19-year-old notched a goal in an 8–0 win against China and an assist in a 3–2 quarterfinal loss to Slovakia.
26. Detroit Red Wings
Last week: 27
Nicklas Lidström (2006). In his third Olympics, the Swedish defenseman scored the game-winning goal in the gold medal game against Finland. He made his fourth and final Olympic appearance in ’10.
25. Chicago Blackhawks
Last week: 24
Jonathan Toews (2010). The Canadian center won a gold medal with Team Canada and the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in the same year. At the Olympics, he scored his lone goal in the gold medal game against the U.S. but finished the tournament with seven assists.
24. New York Islanders
Last week: 21
Marty McInnis (1992). He remained an amateur at the start of the 1991–92 season specifically so he could play in the Olympics. He led the U.S. team in scoring with five goals and two assists in eight games en route to a fourth-place finish in Albertville, France, then made his NHL debut in March.
23. Ottawa Senators
Last week: 22
Erik Karlsson (2014). Named the best defenseman in the tournament, Karlsson helped lead Sweden to a silver medal. He posted eight points, tied with Team USA’s Phil Kessel for the most at the ’14 Games.
22. Columbus Blue Jackets
Last week: 26
Rick Nash (2010). He played on Canada’s Olympic team in 2006, ’10 and ’14, but he made his biggest impact in ’10 with two goals and three assists for the gold medal winners.
21. San Jose Sharks
Last week: 23
Dany Heatley (2010). Five players from the 2010 Canadian team that won gold on its home turf make this list, including Heatley, who finished with seven points (four goals and three assists).
20. Vancouver Canucks
Last week: 19
Pavol Demitra (2010). While the Vancouver Games belonged to Canada, the Slovakian forward led all scorers with 10 points (three goals and seven assists). His team finished in fourth place after losing the bronze medal game to Finland.
19. Anaheim Ducks
Last week: 18
Teemu Selänne (1998). The Nagano Games marked the second of six Olympic appearances for Selänne. He and Finnish teammate Saku Koivu tied for the tournament lead with 10 points on their way to a bronze medal.
18. Winnipeg Jets
Last week: 20
Ilya Kovalchuk (2002). In the middle of his rookie season with the Atlanta Thrashers, the winger won a bronze medal with Russia, notching three points in six games in Salt Lake City.
17. Dallas Stars
Last week: 16
Jere Lehtinen (1998). He racked up six points in six games as part of the bronze medal-winning Finnish team in Nagano.
16. Los Angeles Kings
Last week: 15
Drew Doughty (2014). Doughty won his second straight gold medal with Canada in 2014. The defenseman led the team with four goals and tied with Shea Weber for the team lead with six points. An honorable mention goes to his Kings teammate Jonathan Quick, who won a silver medal in ’10 and anchored the United States in net in ’14.
15. Edmonton Oilers
Last week: 17
Jari Kurri (1980). The winger made his debut for the Finnish national team at the Winter Games in Lake Placid, then was drafted by the Oilers four months later.
14. Washington Capitals
Last week: 14
Alex Ovechkin (2006). In his first of three straight Olympic appearances for Russia, Ovechkin scored five goals, including the game-winner against Martin Brodeur in the quarterfinals to eliminate Canada from the tournament. Russia finished in fourth place, just off the podium.
13. Nashville Predators
Last week: 11
Kimmo Timonen (2006). Timonen played in five Olympics for Finland, but his high watermark came in Turin, when he scored five points (one goal and four assists) to help lift his team to a silver medal. He won bronze in 1998, 2010 and ’14.
12. Boston Bruins
Last week: 13
Ray Bourque (1998). The Canadian led all defensemen in scoring with one goal and two assists in six games, but his team came just short of a medal, falling 3–2 to Finland in the bronze medal game.
11. St. Louis Blues
Last week: 12
T.J. Oshie (2014). Team USA finished fourth at the 2014 Games, but “T.J. Sochi” gave the team a memorable win against host Russia in the group stage. The game went to a shootout, and international rules allow the same player to go over and over again after the first three shooters. Oshie took the first shot for the U.S. and then five more in a row, converting four of six opportunities and finally clinching the victory in the eighth round.
10. Vegas Golden Knights
Last week: 9
Vadim Shipachyov (2018). The forward signed the second contract in Golden Knights history and played for the team in October 2017, but his contract was terminated in November. He went on to win a gold medal at the PyeongChang Games as part of the team of Olympic Athletes from Russia.
9. New York Rangers
Last week: 10
Mike Richter (2002). The U.S. lost the gold medal game 5–2 against Canada, but Richter helped the team even get that far with a 2.25 goals-against average, a .932 save percentage and 132 saves overall.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs
Last week: 5
Phil Kessel (2014). The American was named the best forward after scoring a tournament-high eight points and five goals, including a hat trick in a 5–1 group stage win against Slovakia.
7. Carolina Hurricanes
Last week: 4
Eric Staal (2010). After earning a spot on Canada’s taxi squad in 2006, he made the Olympic team in 2010 and scored one goal and five assists en route to the gold medal.
6. Pittsburgh Penguins
Last week: 8
Mario Lemieux (2002). Canadian men’s hockey hadn’t won gold in 50 years, but 36-year-old Lemieux captained the team to the top of the podium.
5. Calgary Flames
Last week: 7
Jarome Iginla (2010). He set up the winning goal in the gold medal game with his pass to Sidney Crosby in overtime. He finished the Vancouver Games with a tournament-high five goals.
4. Tampa Bay Lightning
Last week: 6
Manon Rhéaume (1998). She appeared in preseason exhibitions for the Lightning in 1992 and ’93, and she won gold at the IIHF women’s world championships in ’92 and ’94—before women’s hockey became an Olympic sport. She and women’s hockey finally made it to the Olympic stage in ’98, and she won silver with Team Canada in Nagano.
3. Minnesota Wild
Last week: 3
Mikael Granlund (2014). The Finnish center recorded seven points in the tournament (four goals and three assists), and he had two assists in a 5–0 win against the United States in the bronze medal game.
2. Colorado Avalanche
Last week: 1
Joe Sakic (2002). The Canadian led the gold-medal-winning team in scoring with seven points (four goals and three assists) overall, including four points (two goals and two assists) against the United States in the tournament final.
1. Florida Panthers
Last week: 2
Tomáš Vokoun (2010). The Czech netminder had a 1.78 goals-against average, a .938 save percentage and 131 saves, but his team was eliminated by eventual bronze medal winner Finland in the quarterfinals.
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