Which Bruins Players Will Join Olympic-Bound Bruce Cassidy In Beijing?

The B's could be well represented in Beijing

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The Boston Bruins should have no shortage of representation at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Hockey Canada on Monday announced its coaching staff for the ’22 Games in Beijing, with Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper running the ship. Bruins bench boss Bruce Cassidy also will be headed to China as a member of Cooper’s coaching staff.

With the 2020* Olympics just wrapping up here in August of 2021, it’s hard to believe, but the Winter Games are less than six months away. With the NHL getting back into the action, it should be a fantastic showcase on the world stage, and Cassidy is likely just the first member of the Black and Gold to get the invite.

Here’s a look at the Bruins’ players who could also make the trip to China to represent their home countries.

CANADA

Patrice Bergeron: If he’s healthy, he should be a lock, perhaps even a first liner. Bergeron played the wing on Canada’s top line at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, alongside Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby and teammate Brad Marchand. Crosby won MVP, and that unit was the best line in the entire tournament. Granted, they’ll all be considerably older in February, but Bergeron’s all-around game and leadership as one of the most decorated Canadian hockey players ever should get him a prominent spot.

Brad Marchand: He was a standout at the World Cup, leading the tournament with five goals in six games, including the tournament winner with seconds to play. All he’s done since then is get even better while becoming one of the best players in the NHL. Marchand is a lock, and he should be an important piece for the Canadians.

Taylor Hall: Believe it or not, Hall has never made an Olympic roster, and he’s probably on the bubble here. His international resume is incredible, though. Dating back to the 2018 world junior U18 tournament, Hall has 45 points in 41 international games (including World Cup of Hockey). At the moment, he feels like a long shot, but it might get interesting if he lights the world on fire to begin the NHL season, the first of his new four-year deal with the B’s.

UNITED STATES

Charlie McAvoy: The United States is sneaky stacked on the back end, but McAvoy definitely should be representing the stars and stripes. McAvoy is just 23 years old and is already one of the NHL’s top defensemen, finishing fifth in Norris Trophy voting this past year. He’ll be a blue-line fixture in red, white and blue for years to come.

Matt Grzelcyk: Again, it’s a loaded defense corps for the Americans, but could Grzelcyk make a push? Maybe. Beating out the likes of Adam Fox, Seth Jones, Jaccob Slavin and McAvoy seems unlikely for a good-not-great player like Grzelcyck. Then again, if he were to take a noticeable leap to begin the season, perhaps he could put some pressure on USA Hockey.

Brandon Carlo: See above regarding Grzelcyk and just insert Carlo’s name where applicable.

CZECH REPUBLIC

David Pastrnak: If Marchand’s not the biggest lock on the Bruins’ roster, then it’s Pastrnak. He’s one of the most gifted goal scorers in the world and has been a fixture on the international stage dating all the way back to U16 action. He has 224 points in 184 NHL games since the start of the 2018 season. He’s just very, very good.

Tomas Nosek: It’s almost a certainty he won’t make the team, but there might be a sliver of a chance. Nosek plays a good two-way brand of hockey, which could make him an intriguing bottom-six forward if the Czechs want to go that direction.

SWEDEN

Linus Ullmark: The two best-known active Swedish goalies in the NHL are Robin Lehner and Jacob Markstrom. Both are fine netminders, but don’t sleep on Ullmark as a possibility here. His .912 career save percentage is right in line with that of Lehner and Markstrom, and he’s done all of that with the lowly Sabres. The Bruins clearly are banking on him being even better with a competent team and system in front of him, to the point where it wouldn’t be shocking if he won the Swedish starter job with a solid start to his first season in Boston.

FINLAND

Erik Haula: Tuukka Rask has been a Finnish mainstay for years, but it looks like his run has come to an end, as he might not even be back on the ice in time for the Olympics — assuming he even wants to continue his career. That means the newly signed Haula is the Bruins’ best chance of sending another Finn to the Olympics. He is far from a lock, and it might be more likely than not he’s left off the roster. However, he does have some versatility with the ability to play both on the wing and at center, and his playmaking ability could be an asset on the bigger sheet. He’s yet another candidate who could benefit from a strong start with his new team.

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