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5 New York Rangers Who Will Impact Sochi Olympics

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5 New York Rangers Who Will Impact Sochi Olympics

Adam Hunger - USA TODAY Sports
The United States Men's National Hockey team announced their roster for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics following the Winter Classic on New Year's Day. The remaining participating nations followed suit within the next week.

Seven New York Rangers players will participate in the games, representing four nations -- the U.S., Canada, Sweden and Norway. Some of the selections are no-brainers, but others are questionable not only based on their performances this season, but because some are not expected to make much of an impact at all on their country's chances to win a medal.

The U.S., Canada and Sweden are considered the three favorites to win the gold medal, as each squad has an enormous amount of depth. The vast majority of the Rangers going to Sochi are a portion of their top players, but are simply role players on a team full of All-Stars. Conversely, Mats Zuccarello is the only NHL player who will play for Team Norway.

It's tough to argue that any Rangers were snubbed for the Olympics, but the addition of Rick Nash to Team Canada is questionable, because he has not had a great season and will not be a top forward for a loaded squad. The same goes for Derek Stepan for Team USA, who is simply a spare center and may not see much ice time aside from garbage-time situations.

So, which Rangers will actually make an impact during the games? Which will lead their nations to the Gold Medal? Here are the top five Rangers who will impact the Sochi Olympics.

Matt Stillwell is a New York Rangers contributor for rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattNYR12, "like" him on Facebook and connect with him on Google Plus for all NYR news and notes!
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5. Carl Hagelin

John E. Sokolowski - USA TODAY Sports
Carl Hagelin will play on the fourth line for an extremely deep Sweden squad. The prediction here is that he will score a key goal in a knockout pool game.
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4. Ryan Callahan

John E. Sokolowski - USA TODAY Sports
Assuming he can stay healthy, Ryan Callahan will be counted on to do the dirty work on Team USA's back line.
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3. Ryan McDonagh

Charles LeClaire - USA TODAY Sports
Ryan McDonagh is one of the NHL's best defensemen, but you rarely hear his name outside of New York. He can make a name for himself across America with a great Olympics.
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2. Mats Zuccarello

John E. Sokolowski - USA TODAY Sports
Mats Zuccarello has been the Rangers' best player this season, but imagine if Norway's only NHL player at the games leads his nation to a medal.
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1. Henrik Lundqvist

Adam Hunger
Sweden will win or lose the gold based on the play of Henrik Lundqvist, similar to how he dictates the Rangers' success or failure. He has had a bad season with the Rangers, but can Lundqvist redeem himself in Sochi?