For the first time since 2014, NHL players will get the chance to suit up for their countries in the Winter Olympics. This article will dive deeper into my projected Team Czech Republic Olympic roster and why I chose certain players and left others out.
The 2022 Beijing Olympics will take place from February 4th to February 22nd. Team Czech Republic could make some noise at the tournament after making it to the quarterfinals in Sochi. Two Boston Bruin legends highlight my projected Czech Olympic team.
Here’s my projected Team Czech Republic Olympic Roster.
Projected Team Czech Republic Olympic Roster
|Jakub Vrana||David Krejci||David Pastrnak|
|Dominik Kubalik||Tomas Hertl||Martin Necas|
|Ondrej Palat||Pavel Zacha||Jakub Voracek|
|Tomas Nosek||Radek Faksa||Filip Zadina|
|Filip Chytil||Ondrej Kase|
|Michal Kempny||Filip Hronek||Petr Mrazek|
|Jan Rutta||Radko Gudas||Pavel Francouz|
|Jakub Zboril||Andrej Sustr||David Rittich|
|Radim Simek||Libor Hajek|
Jakub Vrana – David Krejci – David Pastrnak
A change of scenery and a boost in the depth chart was all that Jakub Vrana needed to prove his worth as an elite top-six forward. He has always had NHL-caliber hands and skating, which have made him a trouble for defenseman. Vrana’s scoring at a point-per-game pace for the first time in his NHL career as well. Combining two Bruins to create some chemistry on the first line could help the Czech’s see a slight boost in production. Krejci brings an unfathomable amount of valuable experience and extremely strong play down the middle. Meanwhile, everyone knows what Pastrnak brings to the table. He will be the Czech’s most important player as they’ll rely on his goal scoring heavily.
HAT TRICK DAVID PASTRNAK! 🎩@Enterprise NHL Hat Trick Challenge | #NHLBruins pic.twitter.com/cAlWDedQCy
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) May 30, 2021
Dominik Kubalik – Tomas Hertl – Martin Necas
At first glance, the Czech Republic’s offense may not seem very dangerous. They do, however, have an underrated amount of talent. Kubalik and Necas both have excellent releases and make this line much deadlier as a goal scoring threat. The two combined for 31 goals last season. Both forwards can slot up and down the lineup while Necas also brings the ability to play center as well as some size at 6’2″. In turn, Tomas Hertl is a do-it-all type of player who will never short you on effort. He’s not the most talent, nor the fastest player, but he is always in the right spot and can make the right play. Hertl’s a very intelligent player who has proved himself as a legit top-six forward, scoring at just under a point-per-game pace over his career.
Ondrej Palat – Pavel Zacha – Jakub Voracek
An underrated third line that shouldn’t have too much trouble generating offense. Palat and Voracek are known better for their playmaking ability and speed off the rush — yet also have a scoring touch. Voracek has lost no momentum after his move from his long-time home of Philadelphia to his first NHL club in Columbus. Zacha has prototypical NHL size for the center position and will slot strongly in a third-line center role. Although he’s not scoring at a pace normally expected from a top-10 selection, he’s getting consistent time on the Devils top-six.
Pavel Zacha with the laser to win it in @EASPORTSNHL OT! pic.twitter.com/mmx0YXNTpK
— NHL (@NHL) October 24, 2021
Tomas Nosek – Radek Faksa – Filip Zadina
Nosek is not a popular choice on many rosters, but I believe he brings some needed size and forechecking ability to this Czech Olympic roster. He’s a hard-nosed player who is willing to do the dirty work. Zadina, on the other hand, is best positioned to utilize his premium shot and hands in the dangerous areas. Faksa, much like Zacha, brings good size to the center position while also possessing offensive upside.
Filip Chytil, Ondrej Kase
If the Czechs are willing to downgrade size and experience for more offensive upside, Chytil could slot in the center position within the bottom-six. Ondrej Kase provides a somewhat similar role to Nosek on the right side.
Michal Kempny – Filip Hronek
Like Finland and Russia, this is where the Czech’s are weakest. Kempny has Stanley Cup pedigree but is struggling to make an NHL roster as he currently plays down in Hershey. Hronek is continually developing with the Red Wings and is starting to take the next steps in his career.
Defenseman Filip Hronek comes through with a seeing-eye shot from the point to even things up! #LGRW pic.twitter.com/YEAVoprcz1
— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) December 5, 2021
Jan Rutta – Radko Gudas
Best suited for a shutdown role, this pairing is unlikely to provide much if anything offensively. Gudas will bring a needed physical element to the blueline, while Rutta can use his size to block shots, break up passes, and disrupt counterattacks. This pairing could also serve as the Czech’s leading PK defensive unit unless Hronek is given preference by the coaching staff.
Jakub Zboril – Andrej Sustr
Like Rutta, Sustr brings a ton of size which is a good thing for a defenseman. He will likely rely heavily on his 6’7″ frame as he lacks the footspeed needed to keep up with the elite pace expected by competition. Sustr also brings experience which should work well with a younger Zboril who is struggling out of the gate with the Bruins.
Radim Simek – Libor Hajek
Neither are well-known NHL defenseman but they should make this Czech Republic Olympic roster thanks to their experience with their respective NHL teams.
He’s having a tough go so far this season with the Maple Leafs but is still the best goalie on this roster. As many NHL fans can attest to, if Mrazek gets hot, he can really help cover up some defensive blemishes for the Czech Republic.
Francouz could easily be the starter depending on how things shake out. He was once the guy in Colorado and has proved himself to be an NHL level goaltender. However, he is currently out for a few weeks which could interfere with his ability to win the starting position.
It’s unlikely Rittich can jump Francouz or Mrazek to be the starter for the Czech Republic, especially considering he’s not getting much game time in the NHL. With that said, he’s a solid enough third string.
PP1: David Pastrnak, David Krejci, Jakub Vrana, Ondrej Palat , Filip Hronek
PP2: Martin Necas, Tomas Hertl, Dominik Kubalik, Jakub Voracek, Michal Kempny
Jan Jenik, Michael Frolik, Dominik Simon, Roman Polak, Martin Kaut, Vladimir Sobotka, Dmitrij Jaskin
There’s not a lot of NHL caliber players outside the guys who made the Czech roster, especially on the defensive side. With that said, their shouldn’t be any surprises about who did or didn’t make the cut.