2014 Winter Olympics: A Look At NHL Talent On Switzerland’s Roster
2014 Winter Olympics: A Look At NHL Talent On Switzerland's Roster
When the men’s ice hockey portion of the 2014 Winter Olympics kicks off next month, one team that could be considered a dark horse to surprise people is Switzerland. Fresh off a silver medal performance at the 2013 World Championships, the Swiss will be looking to improve on their eighth place finish at the 2010 Olympics. Their roster will feature eight current NHL players and a few prospects, as well as many of the players who were on the roster in 2010 at Vancouver.
Injuries will keep promising forward Sven Baertschi (Calgary Flames) and veteran defenseman Luca Sbisa (Anaheim Ducks) off the roster, but Switzerland will still have more than a handful of recognizable talent on their roster when they take the ice in Sochi. In the 15 Olympics they have participated in, the Swiss have only medaled twice and have not done so since 1948. With a strong NHL presence in net, their chance to upset a few teams has grown. Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller is 21-4-4 so far this season, and will be returning for a second Olympics. First-year NHLer Reto Berra (Flames) was 4-0 with a 1.00 goals-against in the 2013 World Championship while sharing the crease with Martin Gerber. Joining Hiller and Berra is former Dallas Stars prospect Tobias Stephan, who played 11 games in the NHL and currently plays for HC Geneve Servette in the Swiss-A league.
Here is a look at the NHL talent that will be in the lineup for Team Switzerland when the 2014 Winter Olympics begin.
Raphael Diaz, Montreal Canadiens
Diaz is in his third season of full-time duty on the Canadiens blue line, and he is no stranger to representing Switzerland internationally. He scored three goals at the 2011 World Championships, and this season he has 11 assists for the Habs through 42 games.
Yannick Weber, Vancouver Canucks
Weber will be returning to the Swiss team for a second Olympics, and despite being only 25 years old he has a great deal of international experience. After five seasons in the Montreal Canadiens organization he has found a home with the Canucks, where he has four points in 22 games.
Simon Moser, Nashville Predators
Predators prospect Simon Moser has represented his home country at the past three World Championships, and will make his Olympic debut this season. He saw preseason action with Nashville, and has six goals and 16 points through 30 games with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL.
Roman Josi, Nashville Predators
Predators defenseman Roman Josi excelled at the 2013 World Championships, and was named the tournament's MVP and best defenseman after scoring four goals and collecting nine points in 10 games. He has four goals and 14 points for the Predators this season, while playing on the team's top pairing with Shea Weber.
Reto Berra, Calgary Flames
Berra will be looking to build on the success he had for Switzerland at the 2013 World Championships. In his first season in North America, he has a 5-12-2 record for a struggling Flames team.
Nino Niederreiter, Minnesota Wild
Drafted fifth overall in 2010 by the New York Islanders, Niederreiter is getting a fresh start this season with the Wild. He has nine goals and 22 points through 45 games, and will be making his first Olympic appearance. He was on Switzerland's roster for the 2010, 2012 and 2013 (five goals, eight points) World Championships.
Damien Brunner, New Jersey Devils
Brunner came to the NHL last season and had 26 points in 44 games for the Detroit Red Wings. He has battled injuries this season and has struggled to put up 13 points in 32 games for the Devils. He was part of Switzerland's teams at the 2010 and 2012 World Championships.
Mark Streit, Philadelphia Flyers
Streit is one of the most successful NHL players from Switzerland, and he brings a ton of international experience to this year's roster. He has five goals and 19 points for the Flyers this season, and was part of a 2006 Olympic team that upset the Czech Republic and Canada.
Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks
Hiller is off to a great start to the 2013-14 season with the Ducks (21-4-4) and will look to carry the success over to the international stage. He will be representing Switzerland for a second consecutive Olympics.