Artemi Panarin
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Who might represent the Rangers — and their countries — in the upcoming Winter Olympics?

The NHL is sending players to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, China. Which players make the rosters for their respective countries will be a hot debate between now and when the final rosters are announced in January.

In October, the IIHF coordinated with the NHL and the NHLPA to name three provisional players for each country’s men’s Olympic national team roster.

Only one New York Rangers player was one of the three provisional players named: Mika Zibanejad, who will represent Sweden. The other two players named for Sweden were Tampa defenseman Victor Hedman and Colorado forward Gabriel Landeskog.

So who else from the Rangers might be headed to the Olympics? Here are a few options.

Must Go

  • Mika Zibanejad — Sweden
  • Adam Fox — USA
  • Artemi Panarin — Russia

Zibanejad is already on the list for Sweden.

When the USA named their three, the defenseman on the list was Chicago’s Seth Jones — a surprise, until you consider the person who named the three players was then-Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman (who has since resigned both in Chicago and from USA Hockey duties). Fox is a lock to be a top-pair defenseman for the United States.

Panarin will be a top-six forward for Russia. They already named Alex Ovechkin and Nikita Kucherov, so Panarin may slot in as a second-line winger on a very good team.

Possible/Likely

  • Filip Chytil — Czech
  • Kaapo Kakko — Finland

Both of these young forwards could impress enough as the season continues to play important roles for their countries in the Olympics.

On The Fence

  • Igor Shesterkin — Russia
  • Chris Kreider — USA

Shesterkin has an uphill climb in front of him. Russia already announced Andrei Vesilevski and two other goaltenders in town — Semyon Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin — might be the other two netminders on the Russian roster.

Kreider could be a useful bottom-six forward for the United States. We’ll see if he gets an invite in January when the rosters are formally announced.