Switzerland Olympic Hockey Team 2014: Full Roster, Projected Lines, Pairings
Switzerland is all set to head off to the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The national roster was announced Monday, and it is a lineup with some NHL talent that should be a defensive minded team. Switzerland isn't exactly a juggernaut, but the team should have enough talent to put up a good showing in Sochi.
While there have been no official announcements of roles for the Olympics, here is the full roster and some projections for the Sochi games.
Complete 25-Man Roster
Goalies: Reto Berra, Jonas Hiller, and Tobias Stephan
Defensemen: Severin Blindenbacher, Rafael Diaz, Philippe Furrer, Roman Josi , Mathias Seger, Mark Streit, Julien Vauclair and Yannick Weber
Forwards: Andres Ambuhl, Matthias Bieber, Simon Bodenmann, Damien Brunner, Luca Cunti, Ryan Gardner, Denis Hollenstein, Simon Moser, Nino Niederreiter, Martin Pluss, Kevin Romy, Reto Suri, Morris Trachsler and Roman Wick
1st Forward Line
Roman Wick, Left Wing: Offensive winger with good size at 6’2” and 207 pounds. Current leading scorer in the NLA with 19 goals and 19 assists for 38 points. Already surpassed 2012-13 totals, and on pace for solid season.
Luca Cunti, Center: A former third-round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning that has spent his career overseas. Is an offensive playmaker that has smooth hands, and a career points-per-game average of 0.74. Cunti will be looked upon to facilitate offense on this line.
Damien Brunner Right Wing: Talented playmaker and goal scorer with tremendous speed. Brunner is a skilled skater that can move the puck easily in traffic.
What's Expected: This line features a balance of playmaking and goal scoring ability, and it will be looked upon to carry the load offensively during the Sochi games.
2nd Forward Line
Denis Hollenstein, Left Winger: Talented young winger that uses his speed game to his advantage. One of the NLA’s top passers, and has 20 assists through 26 games thus far. Hollenstein can play both wings, so that will allow Switzerland to make lineup changes on the fly if needed.
Kevin Romy, Center: Playmaking center that likes to pass first. Has 16 assists and 25 points so far this season, and is a strong skater.
Nino Niederreiter, Right Wing: Skilled power winger with great playmaking abilities. Uses his speed to his ability and is an offensive threat whenever he is on the ice.
What's Expected: This line boasts a bevy of speedy offensive weapons that can equally shoot and distribute the puck. This will be more of a "1B" line than a 2nd line for Switzerland.
3rd Forward Line
Reto Suri, Left Wing: Skilled winger that can line up on both sides of center. Suri is decently sized at 6’0” and 185 pounds, and use agile frame to weave in and out of traffic. Reads the ice well, and has a wicked quick wrist shot.
Andres Ambuhl, Center: Smallish forward that plays larger than his 5’9” and 192 pounds frame indicates. Ambuhl is one of the fastest skaters on roster that plays a top-six energy game.
Simon Moser, Right Wing: Speedy winger with solid size at 6’2” and 214 pounds that is aggressive on the forecheck. Moser is currently playing in the AHL, and has filled out a solid top-nine role.
What's Expected: This is a third offensive line for Switzerland that also can play a two-way energy game. Ambuhl will be properly positioned between two wingers that can score and make a difference offensively.
4th Forward Line
Simon Bondenmann, Left Wing: Versatile forward that plays both wings. Is average sized at 5'10" and 187 pounds, and is a decent offensive producer with 17 points in 25 games.
Martin Pluss, Center: Veteran speedster with great hands. Is a solid two-way player that leads by example, and is a complete player in all three zones.
Morris Trachsler, Right Wing: Bottom-six forward that is a defensive specialist. Can also play the center, but he will serve the team in a fourth line role in addition to killing penalties.
What's Expected: This line features a balance of veteran leadership, size, shutdown ability and offensive upside. This line can play a defensive game when needed, but it has the ability to chip in some offense from time to time.
Matthias Bieber, Center: Average sized center with offensive ability. Bieber can also play the wing if needed, so his versatility will give Team Switzerland options in Sochi.
Ryan Gardner, Right Wing: Physical forward that uses 6’6”, 227-pound frame to his advantage. Gardner is a fecent offensive producer that has 0.74 points-per-game average over 699 NLA games.
1st Defensive Pairing
Roman Josi: A young puck-moving defender that can generate offense in addition to remaining comfortable in his own zone. Is a solid skater that has speed made for a larger ice surface.
Philippe Furrer: 28-year-old blueliner that plays a physical game. Furrer is also a decent skater that has a good shot and is confident with the puck.
What's Expected: Team Switzerland is going to look for the youthful duo of Josi and Furrer to play in all situations. Both are talented offensive players that can quickly transition back on defense, so expect each to log around 23:00 per game.
2nd Defensive Pairing
Mark Streit: A veteran puck-moving defender that has been a mainstay on the Swiss roster for years. Streit is a former NHL captain that will be a leader for a roster of talented blueliners.
Rafael Diaz: Playmaking defenseman that is a skilled skater. Has the talent and poise to carry puck up larger ice surface.
What's Expected: This pairing will feature two older players with international experience, and they will be looked upon to play significant minutes. Streit is going to be a leader on the team, and he will be expected to set the tone, and be an example to follow when on the ice.
3rd Defensive Pairing
Yannick Weber: A special teams producer that owns a canon from the point. Isn't the greatest in his own zone, but his role will involve moving the puck.
Mathias Seger: Veteran blueliner that has represented his country since 1997. He was named captain, because he is a steady all-around defender that was anchor during 2013 World Hockey Championship.
What's Expected: Switzerland's top two pairing will get the bulk of minutes in Sochi, so this duo will be looked upon to play consistently while the other blueliners catch their breath.
Severin Blindenbacher: A veteran right handed defender that has a ton of international experience. Was a key contributor for Switzerland at 2013 IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship tournament.
Julien Vauclair: Experienced defender that has played in Swiss league for majority of career. Vauclair finished second among Swiss defenders in scoring during 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
Jonas Hiller, Starter: A very talented goalie that has played like an elite netminder thus far. Although he has battled injuries, it is fair to say that he has been a backbone for the Anaheim Ducks.
Reto Berra, Backup: An upstart youngster that could be a future No. 1 or No. 2 at the 2018 Olympic Games. This season Berra has been a backstop for the Calgary Flames, and he has put up some decent numbers. He has international experience, and can serve as a solid backup.
Tobias Stephan, Third-String: Former second round pick of Dallas Stars that never stuck in NHL. Has posted decent numbers overseas, and he will be fine as an emergency backup in a pinch.