The Winter Olympics aren’t typically a time for coming out parties for the younger star players in the NHL. Spots on international rosters are typically reserved for veterans who have experience on big stages—especially for superpower teams like Canada, the United States and Russia.
Consider that Sidney Crosby didn’t make Team Canada in his first year of potential eligibility, and that was after his 102-point rookie season.
These Winter Games seem to be a bit different though. Some of the world’s top players won’t be able to compete due to injury, and that has paved the way for some younger-than-usual talent to make their Olympic debuts. While there are a few teams with several noteworthy youngsters, the five players listed here are expected to be difference makers with their respective nations.
Each is arriving with a different set of circumstances, but the goal of a Gold Medal is the same for all of them.