The official announcements for the 2014 Olympic hockey rosters aren’t supposed to happen until tomorrow. Rumors have been swarming around a number of players who are believed to be in contention to make their respective countries team. However, one Philadelphia Flyers player has surfaced above the rumors and has been confirmed to be a part of team Austria this February.
According to multiple reports, Michael Raffl is the first Flyer officially selected to join five other members of the orange and black at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Anthony SanFilippo broke the news late last night after the team’s 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Raffl stated that he received a phone call from Austrian coach Manny Viveiros who told him he had made the team.
It’s no surprise to anyone that Raffl will be headed to Sochi. The young rookie has proved himself not only on the Flyers, but around the NHL. In 27 games this season, Raffl has posted two goals and nine assists with a plus/minus of +2. His vision and ability to set up plays is uncanny, and his puck-handling skills are hard to duplicate.
Raffle will make a nice addition to what is looking like a thin roster. Austria has never really been a household name in international competition. With team Canada most likely being the favorite to win it all and a handful of other countries with countless superstars loaded on their rosters, Don’t expect much from team Austria.
The names of the other five Flyers that are rumored to be headed to Sochi have not been released. However, it’s a safe bet to say that Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek are two of them. Expect to see their names called tomorrow when the official rosters are finally announced.