- Russian Olympic Committee (ROC): The ROC’s ice hockey team is made up of all KHL players, the second best league in the world, with many teams as good or better than NHL teams. ROC should repeat as Olympic Gold Medalists as the NHL is not allowing their players to compete meaning that the USA, Canada, Sweden, and Finland, as well as Russia will be without their best players, but Russia has more elite players in leagues other than the NHL, than any other nation.
- Finland: Finland has a very good mixture of players in all of the top leagues. In 2021, Finland lost in the World Championship Final to Canada in overtime. Given that Finland does not have as big of a drop-off and given that Finland won the 2019 World Championship and will be upset about that 2021 Final loss, Finland will probably be more focused than anyone else at the tournament and will have the skill and recent historical success and thus confidence to win the Olympic Gold! Finland has won two silvers and four bronze so this will be major for the Finnish people and nation if 3x World Champions Finland can pull through and win it all.
- Sweden: Sweden is very good and has a lot of their key players at the Olympics. However, Sweden boasts the third most amount of NHL players meaning that Sweden’s current team may not even be one of their top 3 versions. Sweden has been struggling as of late, having not gotten out of their 2021 World Championship Group Stage.
- Canada: Canada will be missing their NHL players, but will still be a favorite to win the Olympic Gold Medal, as a lot of good teams around the world have a Canadian on their team. But, Canada’s choice of players includes more collegiate players than needed which will hinder Canada’s chances against national teams with more professional level players. Canada are the defending World Champions (2021) and Olympic Bronze Medalists (2018).
- Switzerland: Switzerland features one of the best leagues, arguably #3 in the world, and all of Switzerland’s team plays in the Swiss League. The only issue is that Switzerland will be missing some key NHL players. This dependency on the skill set of their NHL players may make Switzerland very bad this Olympics.
- Germany: Germany are the defending Silver Medalists (2018) and are almost all German League players, another top league. Germany does very well when NHL players cannot play. Germany got 4th at the 2021 World Championship.
- USA: USA has put together a team with too many collegiate players. However, USA are the defending World Championship Third Place team (2021), and thus the Gold Medal is not out of the question. The drop-off to this team from their regular #1 team is tremendous.
- Czech Republic: Czech Republic did not do well last World Championship (for them), and that was with a team highly dependent on their NHL players. Czech Republic is usually really good, but does not look to be as close to their strongest as the others on this list.
- Slovakia: Slovakia is a really good ice hockey country and every now and then, they are the best. However, this year does not look like it will be their year. Their team would be #8 with Germany behind them if NHL players were allowed, but Slovakia does not have enough elite players given their size to truly compete without their best players like the USA, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, and Russia do.
- Latvia: Latvia has a talented national team, but will be without some players. If the NHL players could play, Latvia would still be #10. Latvia should be competitive, but probably will finish in 10th.
- Denmark: Denmark keeps getting better and better. However, the likelihood of Denmark winning the Gold Medal seems much less likely than it going to any of the other nations ahead of itself. Denmark is clearly the #10 or #11 national team, but could prove to be higher if they play well.
- PR China: Technically, all of PR China’s players play in the KHL for the Beijing/Shenzhen side in the KHL, but realistically most of the PR Chinese players do not play, or are naturalized per IIHF rules which allow players who have lived in a country for two years to play for them. PR China is currently #32 in the world. Last place is very expected.
Nation: Olympic Gold, Silver, Bronze.
- Canada: 9, 4, 3.
- USA: 2, 8, 1.
- Sweden 2, 3, 4.
- Russia: 1, 1, 1.
- Czech Republic: 1, 0, 1.
- Finland: 0, 2, 4.
- Germany: 0, 1, 1.
- Switzerland: 0, 0, 2.
- Soviet Union: 7, 1, 1.
- Czechoslovakia: 0, 4, 4.
- West Germany: 0, 0, 1.
Nation: World Championship Gold, Silver, Bronze.
- Canada: 27, 15, 9
- Sweden: 11, 19, 17
- Czech Republic: 6, 1, 5
- Russia: 5, 3, 5
- USA: 2, 9, 9
- Slovakia: 1, 2, 1
- Switzerland: 0, 3, 8
- Germany: 0, 1, 2
- Soviet Union: 22, 7, 5
- Czechoslovakia: 6, 12, 16
- West Germany: 0, 1, 0
Groups: Every Nation makes it to the knockout rounds. Group winners and Best 2nd Place team get byes to the Quarter-finals.
#32 PR China
#6 Czech Republic