Which Flyers will play in the Winter Olympics in 2022?

Jakub Voracek, Czech Republic (Photo by RvS.Media/Monika Majer/Getty Images)
Jakub Voracek, Czech Republic (Photo by RvS.Media/Monika Majer/Getty Images) /
1 of 3

Flyers fans and all hockey fans should be thrilled to know that NHL talent is expected to return to the Olympic this time next year in Beijing, China for the 2022 Winter Olympics Games.

Olympic hockey is an international showcase unique to the sport. It has provided American viewers with legendary moments like the Miracle on Ice and the Sochi shootout win over the Russians.

It provided Flyers fans with an all-too-familiar heartbreak in 2010 when Sidney Crosby scored the overtime winner for Team Canada in one of the greatest hockey games ever played.

Even casual hockey fans can appreciate the unparalleled competitive spirit of Olympic hockey. The two-week tournament is the equivalent to a hypothetical basketball or football tournament where professionals represent their former colleges with pride on the line. While NBA players compete in the Summer Olympics, the lopsided balance of talent for Team USA basketball prevents the tournament from reaching the level of a competitive international showcase.

Flyers fans should expect to see some members of their team compete in the Beijing games. Which Flyers on the current roster have the best chance to earn Olympic roster spots?

Team USA

Flyers center Kevin Hayes has the best chance of any Flyer to represent Team USA. Hayes, a Massachusetts native, was listed as a fringe player by the The Hockey Writers but left off the projected American roster from NBC Sports.

It’s important to note that Olympic rosters are not chosen like All-Star teams. The right complement of star power and appropriate role players make up the best teams. Hayes would bring versatility with a strong 200-foot game and experience killing penalties that some higher-level Americans with better offensive track records cannot provide. My guess is that Hayes gets the nod for Team USA.

Kevin Hayes, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Kevin Hayes, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk represented Team USA at the Sochi Olympic Games in 2014 and again in the World Cup of Hockey in 2016. His status as an elite scorer among American players is not where it was when these respective rosters were chosen.

Flyers fans have seen JVR’s ability to put up points in bunches early this season, but the New Jersey native would need to keep this torrid pace if he has any chance to play for Team USA. Islanders forward Anders Lee is another fringe player who brings a similar net-front presence and would likely be chosen over van Riemsdyk. My guess is that JVR misses the cut.

One sleeper to crack the American roster is Joel Farabee. Although Farabee has not yet achieved the sustained level of NHL success required to play for Team USA, the 20-year-old winger has posted 12 points in 13 games this season. A breakout year could give Farabee a chance to climb the ranks of American-born players and earn a roster spot.