Team Finland would have been a formidable team if the NHLPA and NHLPA allowed their players to take part in the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. They would have been a formidable force, with players ranging from Aleksander Barkov and Sebastian Aho. Unfortunately, hockey fans won’t see the likes of them in this tournament as the NHL officially The competition was canceled.22nd December 2021
Pyeongchang 2018, the Olympics, saw 18-year olds Eeli tolvanen was the team’s leaderWith three goals and nine points, they placed sixth. He won’t be there this year as he’s currently starring for the Nashville Predators in the NHL. They will need to find another player to fill his shoes. Joakim Kemell (2022) and Brad Lambert (2022) are top prospects. They were denied their chance of glory during the 2022 World Juniors were canceled last month.
Finland, along with Russia, Sweden, the United States and Canada, has enjoyed international success. Surprisingly, however, the Olympics were not a success for Finland.
Finland has a rich hockey history
They can produce NHL talent for a country of just 5.53 million inhabitants. They are able to give the world a lot to talk about, whether it’s Hall of Famer Jari Curri or Teemu Selanne. They don’t have superstars like Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid but that doesn’t mean they are an easy out. You can always count upon their work ethic, never-say-die mentality and hard work. They will work hard every day and push you to your limits.
Finland’s emphasis on skills development and its cult-like devotion to a cohesive team game has made it a contender year-in and year-out.
Selanne is a top-tier first liner, Jarkko Ruutu is a grinder, but they all have the same worker-bee attitude. It is much harder to beat a team that buys into this system. That’s why it’s best to never count out the Finns in any international competition.
Related: Selanne’s Legacy: The Unbeatable Record of Teemu Selanne
Most of Finland’s success has come at the World Championships (WC). They have won three gold medals since 1992 WC and six silver medals. Their last title was in 2019, when they defeated Canada 3-1 thanks to two goals by Marko Antila. However, the Olympics have not been so kind.
Finland has participated in 17 out of 18 Olympic Games, including their debut in Oslo in 1952 at the Winter Olympics. The only time they didn’t compete was in 1956 when Cortina d’Ampezzo hosted the competition. They have never won gold, but they came close in 2008 and 2006, when Alexander Mogilny of the Soviet Union and Henrik Zetterberg were there. The Swedes won the championship.
Related: Top-10 Finns in the 1980s
All told, it’s been 16 years and three Olympics since Finland had the pleasure of playing in the gold medal game. They also have four bronze medals and two silver medals. They had won medals in six of their last eight Olympics, and three consecutive Olympics before they finished sixth in 2018. They have done well in the big picture.
Fun Facts About Team Finland & Its Players
- 249 Finnish players have played at least one NHL game since 1917 when the league was established.
- Selanne still leads all Finns with NHL goals and points, 684 and 14,557, respectively. Barkov is the next closest active player with 196 goals (492 points). His record is secure for the future, unless he has a serious accident.
- Finland’s biggest win on the international stage came against Norway when they dispatched them 20-1 on Mar. 12, 1947.
- Their biggest loss was against Canada in Mar. 3 1958, when they were defeated 24-0
- Finland has retired seven numbers from seven players: Selanne (#8) and Koivu(#11), Kurri (17), Raimo Helminen (14) and Ville Peltonen (16), respectively, as well as Kimmo Timonen (44) and Jere Lehtinen (26)
- Helminen holds the Olympic record for most tournaments played. He was a participant in six Olympics between 1984 and 2002.
- Saku Koivu has 19 career assists, which is the Olympic record.
The World’s Biggest Stars
With the majority of the past Olympics being played with NHL players, Finland’s stars have been plenty. Selanne, also known as the Finnish Flash, was their most prolific player with 23 goals and 43 points in 37 games. He won three bronze and one silver medals. Koivu, the captain of the team that made it to the gold-medal game, is now a distant second with nine goals, 30 points and 28 games.
Without NHLers this year, the pressure will be on players that don’t have a lot of experience on this stage. Markus Granlund is one of the most feared players in the rumored group.Sami Vatanen, Leo Komarov, and Valtteri Filppula have all only competed in one Olympics. Each of them has a bronze medal and will lead a team full of inexperienced younger players.
Where Will Finland’s Players Come From?
The NHL is often the most important source of talent to the Finnish National Team. They will have to look elsewhere if they don’t have NHLers. Most likely they will turn to the Finnish Liiga and Kontinental Hockey Leagues (KHL), as well as various junior leagues. The Swiss League and KHL will be the most prominent sources if they decide to go with the speculations of Granlund and Komarov, Filppula, Vatanen and Filppula. JYP will soon lose two of its top players if it is Lambert and Kemell.
Yes, Finland won’t have their usual stars, but that doesn’t mean teams should take them lightly. Their work ethic, goaltending and system make up most of their lack of talent. Their opponents are always surprised, no matter how talented they may be. Even without NHL players sporting the Suomi Crest, this year should be no exception.
Matthew Zator, a THW freelancer, media editor, scout, and media editor, lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks Hockey, the NHL Draft and prospects in general. He enjoys talking about young players’ potential. Matthew is an essential read for Canucks fans as well as fans of the NHL Draft. Matthew’s social media accounts are listed under his photo.