Thursday Chat: Could Any Leafs Players Go To The Olympics?


With the NHL announcing that it will not allow players to compete in the Olympics because the Omicron variant is already messing up hockey leagues and tournaments around the world, every country is now striving to assemble its best possible squads.

But some countries will have an easier time than others.

The rule, per one Darren Dreger tweetIt appears that players with an NHL contract are not allowed to participate. That means nobody like Cole Perfetti or Peyton Krebs who are in the AHL but in NHL deals. So that’s not just limited to players currently on an NHL roster, it can also include those in the AHL who have an NHL deal.

If that’s true, it doesn’t just mean the obvious choices like Auston Matthews aren’t going to the Olympics. With the Maple Leafs it can also be guys like Kristians Rubins who are in the AHL, but also have NHL contracts.

For North Americans, the best of a mix of NCAA players – who haven’t signed a professional contract yet – and old veterans who play in Europe remains. It can also include the AHL as long as the player has an AHL contract.

What is not clear is whether a prospect playing in Europe who has signed his ELC could participate. Pontus Holmberg, for example, is one of Sweden’s top professional players in the SHL. He would be a worthy player for Team Sweden … but he has signed an ELC.

But it means that guys like Topi Niemelä, who is one of the top professional defenders in Finland’s Liiga this year, could play completely free for Finland – he hasn’t signed an ELC yet. It also means that Matthew Knies, who is in the NCAA and one of the best newcomers, may have an outside perspective to play for Team USA. And wouldn’t that be fun! The WJC is denied due to COVID, just so that COVID gives them the opportunity to take part in the Olympic Games as young people.

However, Russia will absolutely win.

LEAVES LEFT

William Nylander takes the lead on points as Maple Leafs defeated Oilers 4-2 | by Hardev and Omara

UPDATE: More Toronto games postponed due to Covid and rescheduling reasons | from Katya

Morgan Rielly’s 200-foot Excellence, Trade Forward Goals, and Who Are The Leafs’ 12 Best Strikers When They Are Healthy? | from MLHS

DIFFERENT HOCKEY LINKS

Edmonton’s risky off-season schedule on the web is in crisis | from Sportsnet

Speaking of Edmonton’s goalkeeper … one of them wasn’t that happy to be thrown under the bus by his coach.

The Penguins and Blackhawks swung a trade yesterday.

The Habs hired a new vice president for communications.

There are rumors that the Canucks are buying their substitute goalkeeper. I know of another western conference team that could use it!

Speaking of Canucks, they’ll be without one of their top stars due to COVID.



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