Red Wings Who Could Compete in the 2026 Olympics

The Hockey Writers

Over the recent All-Star break, the NHL officially announced that NHL players will be competing in both the 2026 and 2030 Winter Olympic games. The NHL Players Association and the league themselves have come to an agreement with the IIHF that will see the players from the best hockey league in the world finally competing in this best-on-best tournament for the first time since 2014. From February 6-22, 2026 we will finally get to see the very best hockey players in the world all competing in the same tournament once again.

We still haven’t seen players like Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, or Nathan MacKinnon in the Olympics and now we’ll finally get that chance. All the talk about Team USA’s strength in net with guys like Connor Hellebuyck and John Gibson, as well as youngsters like Jake Oettinger and Jeremy Swayman will finally be put to the test as well.

2026 Winter Olympics Detroit Red Wings Dylan Larkin and Moritz Seider
Dylan Larkin and Moritz Seider (The Hockey Writers)

There will also certainly be a handful of Detroit Red Wings players competing for their nations once again. Back in 2014 we saw Jimmy Howard play for Team USA, as well as Red Wings legends such as Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall and Daniel Alfredsson competing for Team Sweden (that last one was a joke, please don’t come for me). 

Related: 2024 NHL Draft Rankings – Horn’s Top 100 for February

Latest News & Highlights

This news has left me wondering. Which current and future Red Wings players could compete for their country when the NHL returns to the Olympics in 2026? Let’s take a look at the players who I think have the best chances and give them a rough percentage at competing for their country.

Olympic Tournament Basics

The Olympic tournament for Men’s Ice Hockey includes 12 teams. In 2026 those teams will be the top-eight ranked nations by the IIHF, the host nation of Italy, and three teams that make the cut following a qualifier tournament. It’s unlikely that Russia or Belarus will be allowed back into IIHF play at this point so I will not be considering them for either Olympic games at this point.

All of the usual suspects will be there, Canada, Finland, USA, Sweden, Germany, etc., and some of the teams vying for a qualifier spot will be Latvia, Norway and Austria, to name just a few. Each player listed below will also have their age highlighted, and this will be their age when the tournament happens so we can better track what stage of their career they’ll be in. Let’s get started!

Team USA:

Dylan Larkin (29)

I think it’s fair to say that Dylan Larkin will still be firmly in his prime two years from now. I think Larkin is a bit underrated league-wide and he’ll have serious competition on a strong USA roster, but his two-way play and speed should be more than enough to earn him a spot. Established stars with reputations like Larkin’s always have a leg up on flashy young players unless those players make it impossible to leave them off the roster so I think it’s pretty safe to assume Larkin’s got a great chance.

Dylan Larkin Detroit Red Wings
Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Teams with the amount of talent that the US and Canada have always need centers to push over to the wing and Larkin would be a really effective player in any position throughout the lineup. He won’t be a star for the Americans (Auston Matthews, the Tkachuk brothers, and others will take those spots), but I can see him being a really valuable piece for them given his versatility and speed.

Chance to Make the Team: 80%

Alex DeBrincat (28)

With the presence of a ton of puck-dominant playmakers like Jack Hughes, Matthew Tkachuk and Jack Eichel likely playing for Team USA, they’ll need some efficient finishers who don’t need to play with the puck much to be effective. Alex DeBrincat can definitely fill that need, though he’ll have some competition from guys like Cole Caufield and maybe Brock Boeser who could play a similar role. If he can be a 30-40 goal guy from now until the 2026 Olympics roll around then he’ll be a tough player to leave off the roster.

Chance to Make the Team: 60%

Team Sweden:

Lucas Raymond (23)

Lucas Raymond currently sits seventh in NHL scoring amongst all Swedish forwards and I think he’ll only rise on that list over the next two years (though he’ll also likely be passed by Leo Carlsson). In his first three NHL seasons, Raymond has scored 143 points, the ninth most among all Swedish forwards in the NHL. Keep in mind, he’s still just 21 years old and is by no means done developing.

Related: The NHL’s Top 100 Prospects – Midseason Edition

Even if Raymond stalls out as a 50-60 point player in the NHL (which I think is the bare minimum for him), I think he’d have a decent shot at making Team Sweden. I think he’ll be more than that over the next two years though, and I expect he’ll be competing in the Olympics.

Chance to Make the Team: 90%

Team Germany

Moritz Seider (24)

Moritz Seider is a quality top-pairing defender in the NHL at age 22, playing some of the toughest minutes we’ve seen anyone play over the last decade, so I think it’s fair to say that he will comfortably be Germany’s top defender two years from now.

Moritz Seider Detroit Red Wings
Moritz Seider, Detroit Red Wings (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

He will get the chance to reunite with young German players like JJ Peterka and Tim Stutzle, and he’ll also likely get to play with Leon Draisaitl and Phillip Grubauer. Germany’s men’s team is ranked fifth in the world by the IIHF right now, and I could see them doing some damage in 2026.

Chance to Make the Team: 100%

Honorable Mention: Team Austria

Marco Kasper (21)

The only thing that would stop Marco Kasper from competing for Austria in the 2026 Olympics is them not qualifying. Austria doesn’t have a long track record of successful NHL players and so Kasper is likely to be high on their list of players to bring in, especially considering his success and leadership role with the U20 national team. Other young NHL players/prospects like Marco Rossi and David Reinbacher should also be considered near-locks if Austria qualifies.

Chance to Make the Team: 100% (If Austria qualifies)

Plenty of Red Wings Who Could Compete

While there are several younger players/prospects in the Red Wings’ system who I think will be in contention to compete in the 2030 Olympics, there should still be plenty of players for Hockey Town to watch in the next Winter Olympics. It’s such a fun event to watch as a hockey fan and I for one am thrilled that we will finally get to see some best-on-best hockey once again.

Which Red Wings players do you think have the best chances to play in the Olympics? Do you think Austria will qualify in time for 2026? Will Simon Edvinsson be ready to contribute for Sweden by then? Sound off in the comment section below!

Articles You May Like

Red Wings News & Rumors: Guentzel, Berggren & More
Red Wings LIVE 2.22.24: Dylan Larkin and Patrick Kane
Wingspan: Showtime
SSOTD: Red Wings vs. Blues, 2/24/2024
Red Wings LIVE 2.25.24: Patrick Kane

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *