Let me just say, lots of hours of studying were put into these.
I encountered several problems over the course of this, mainly, trying to find stats & news on a couple smaller european leauges. One countries league I never even found an English translation for, so I might be thrown a curve ball or two for them, since they could have a player or two lighting up the league I dont know about.
Another problem was with the upper echelon teams, theres just too many to choose from. Narrowing a potential list of 25 forwards down to 13-14 is harder than it seems.
In any case, here is the first of 12 prospective rosters I have compiled.
The German 2010 Olympic team.
Germany comes into the 2010 Winter Olympics as the lowest ranked team in the tournament by the International Ice Hockey Federation. 12th ranked in the world.
Personally, I take them more seriously than that. I think top 10, maybe even if they have a great tournament, top 8. I mean they have no less than 12 players on the potential roster that have played in the NHL in the past few years.
They certainly arent a power house, but they have more NHL quality players than a few teams ahead of them. That has to make the German team & head coach Uwe Krupp feel they have a chance to upset a bit & make inroads into getting back into the top 10 ranked nations. They arent likely going in thinking medals, but they might be thinking of knocking off the lower ranked countries & show they arent an after thought.
So I give you, my first crack at trying to predict the Olympic rosters of the 2010 competing nations in mens hockey.
Thomas Greiss- SAN JOSE SHARKS (NHL). Thomas might be a back up to one of the NHLs top goalies, but dont be fooled. he is still a capable NHL goalie. Hes no Kolzig, but he is certainly the best of the batch. He will give them a fighting chance to compete every game.
Dmitrij Kotschnew- MOSCOW SPARTAK (KHL). The KHL has quickly become known as the 2nd best league in the world & Dkitrij has put up respectable numbers there. He could contend for the starting job if Thomas stumbles.
Dimitri Patzold- INGOLSTADT ISC (DEL). Just 2 seasons ago Dimitri was actually fighting with Thomas for the back up job for the Sharks. He clearly didnt get it. But it shows his ability level isnt terrible. He will likely be the 3rd goalie.
Christian Ehrhoff- VANCOUVER CANUCKS (NHL). Christian is without debate, the top defenseman the German team has. As an NHL team PP qb he has cemented himself as this teams top d-man unit uncontested.
Dennis Seidenberg- FLORIDA PANTHERS (NHL). Dennis has taken a few years to develop into a top end defenseman in the NHL, and now that he has he will be unquestionably expected to take top minutes for the national team.
Sven Buetenschon- MANNHEIM EAGLES (DEL). Sven was ain the NHL only a few seasons ago. Since then he has gone back home & has done quite well there as well. On his house team he is seen as a defensive defenseman, but his 15 goals in the AHL 3 seasons ago says he can play an offensive game too.
Christoph Schubert- ATLANTA THRASHERS (NHL). Since 25 pts just 3 seasons ago he has regressed offensively each season. Defensively his game has gotten moderately better. A capable 2nd unit defender for this team, he will still likely get lots of time on the ice in all situations.
Alexander Sulzer- MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS (AHL). Alexander has showed enough promise in the Nashville Predators system to have garnered a few games this season with the big club. That experience, along with his strong AHL play gives him the edge for the #5 spot.
Sascha Goc- HANNOVER SCORPIONS (DEL). Sasha hasnt been in the NHL in quite a few years, but his 24 goals last season in the DEL was far & away the leagues msot by a dman. He'll get plenty of minutes probably lots of PP time thanks to his penchant for shooting the puck.
Korbinian Holzer- DEG METRO STARS (DEL). Korbinian has really come on in the past season. Last year he was barely noticed as an Olympic hopeful, this year however...he is now 2nd to Sasha in the DEL in pts by a German defenseman.
Andy Reiss- HANNOVER SCORPIONS (DEL). At 5'11 & 169 lbs he certainly isnt going to intimidate a lot of the NHL level players of this tourney. But he has managed to find a way to make his playing style work for him. A moderate offensive touch & decent defensive skills makes him a probable to take the last spot on the roster.
Marco Sturm- BOSTON BRUINS (NHL). Germanys top offensive weapon, Sturm will be looked at to carry a large chunk of the offensive load. With 6, 20 goal seasons in the NHL on his resume, his offensive touch will be vitally needed for them to have any success.
Jochen Hecht- BUFFALO SABRES (NHL). After Marco, Jochen will be looked at to fill the net. Only 2 seasons ago he scored 20 goals, and has had 50+ pts 3 times in his NHL career. This year he is struggling, but with few options available, they will rely on him to do whatever he can.
Marcel Goc- NASHVILLE PREDATORS (NHL). An NHL regular, Goc has had limited success with his offensive game. But he has managed to stick in the NHL with a keen defensive style that has compensated for his struggles offensively. He will likely still get pushed into an offensive role here at times, but his overall game will be his strongpoint.
Philipp Gogulla- PORTLAND PIRATES (AHL). In his first year of North American hockey, Philipp has put up adequate numbers. His limited time in N.A. gives him an inside edge on getting top 6 minutes on the team. Dont expect a lot offensively from him.
Thomas Greilinger- INGOLSTADT ERC (DEL). This seasons current leading scorer in the DEL is a lock for the team. His league leading 19 goals will be looked upon to prop up the teams offense past the NHL playrers.
Robert Hock- ISERLOHN ROOSTERS (DEL). Probably the oldest guy on the team, Robert has had a strong season this year, 4th in the entire league in pts, and 1st in assists by a German player. Despite being 37 yrs old by the time the Olympics start.
Michael Wolf- ISERLOHN ROOSTERS (DEL). Hock sets them up, Wolf buries them. Currently 4th in the league in goals, and 1st in PP goals, Wolf will be looked at to compliment Robert Hock, especially on the PP.
Marcel Müller- COLOGNE SHARKS (DEL). At only 21, Marcel is pushing his way into the team quickly. He might lose his spot if they opt to go with more experience, or if the currently injured teammate Christoph Ullmann comes back. But for now, I think he has a shot to be here.
Dusan Frosch- COLOGNE SHARKS (DEL). Putting up respectable stats offensively, the short speedy Frosch will be expected to use his speed to generate offense for the team.
Eduard Lewandowski- MOSCOW SPARTAK (KHL). Has shown some offensive flair in the KHL. Shouldnt have too much trouble making this team.
John Tripp- HAMBURG FREEZERS (DEL). Former 2 time drafted NHLer John Tripp now calls Germany his home & is eligible for their team. His deep experience & still respectable stats at his age make him a near lock for the team.
Daniel Kreutzer- DEG METRO STARS (DEL). Solid offensive numbers & his strong playoffs last season make Daniel a likely candidate for the team.
Manuel Klinge- KASSEL HUSKIES (DEL), As one of the few German snipers there are out there, he probably has a fair shot at this team. Only thing that could hold him back is his mediocre defensive play depending how defensive minded they want their forward unit to be. For now, hes making my roster.
maybes- Stefan Ustorf, Andre Rankel, Yannic Seidenberg Thomas Holzmann, Christoph Ullmann, Robert Dietrich, Denis Reul, Alexander Barta, Florian Busch. Felix Schutz.