Projected Roles for Each Philadelphia Flyer Headed to Sochi
There are few honors higher than playing for your country in the Olympics, and five Philadelphia Flyers will have that honor later this month in Sochi, Russia.
Here is a look at those five players: Andrej Meszaros, Michael Raffl, Mark Streit, Kimmo Timonen and Jakub Voracek.
We will take a look at each player, what their role should be on their respective Olympic teams and what their prospects are for success.
Feel free to comment on any of these Flyers' players heading to Sochi. As always, indicate why you feel the way you do.
Andrej Meszaros will be appearing in his third Olympic games for Slovakia.
The 28-year-old figures to be a top-four defenseman for the Slovaks.
Meszaros has been up and down for Philadelphia this year. He is a plus-one in 33 games with the Flyers. He's scored four goals and 15 points.
He is capable of contributing something to the offense while being physical in his own zone. Meszaros has been burned a little too often in his own zone for coach Craig Berube's taste. He sometimes puts himself out of position trying for a big hit.
Meszaros may benefit from playing on the larger European ice surfaces.
Flyers' rookie Michael Raffl will make his Olympic debut for Austria in Sochi.
The Austrians have only three NHL players on their roster, Raffl and Michael Grabner and Thomas Vanek of the New York Islanders. Expect Raffl to be among the top-six forwards for the Austrians at the Olympics.
Raffl has five goals and 16 points in 43 games so far for the Flyers.
The larger international-sized rinks should benefit Raffl who has good speed and good offensive instincts.
Raffl is familiar with international competition and helped Austria qualify for the Olympics. His country is a long shot to medal but they will be relying on Raffl heavily to help them pull off some upsets.
This will be the fourth Olympics for Flyers' defenseman Mark Streit, who will represent his native Switzerland in Sochi.
The 36-year-old will add experience and leadership to the Swiss blue line and should see a lot of ice time on his team's top pairing.
Expect Streit to quarterback the Swiss power play as well, even if he's been a bit disappointing in that regard for Philadelphia.
Streit is shaky in his own zone and often turns the puck over, a habit he'll have to cut down on if he hopes to help lead Switzerland into medal contention.
Expect Kimmo Timonen to be a key performer for Finland at Sochi if his foot injury is healed enough to allow him to log major minutes.
Timonen first played for Finland in Nagano in 1998 and will be in his fifth Olympics this month.
The 38-year-old defenseman is well suited to play on the international game. He is a good skater with excellent vision who can take advantage of the larger international rinks.
Timonen can be overpowered physically but this should be less of an issue at the Olympics than it is in the NHL playoffs.
This will likely be Timonen's last Olympics and he hopes to make it memorable.
Sochi will mark the Olympic debut of forward Jakub Voracek who will be a part of the forward corps for the Czech Republic.
Voracek will probably play on the second line for the Czechs who still have some more experienced players like Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias and Petr Nedved available.
Expect Voracek to have a strong Olympics. When motivated, he is very dangerous thanks to his passing skills, heavy shot and hockey sense. If he isn't motivated to play his best at the Olympics, you have to wonder what would motivate him.
The Czechs have an outside chance to medals and will need Voracek to play well if they hope to attain that goal.
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