There are at least seven hockey nations with elite top lines, but the disparity between them begins to grow as you descend the depth chart. This year's Olympic gold medalists could very well be the team whose secondary lines can best neutralize opponents and generate some scoring. Which nation has the best depth?
To answer that question we've broken it down into the following areas.
- If the top lines cancel each other offensively, which teams will get the most secondary scoring?
- When the depth lines wind up on the ice against the opposing first line, which teams have the defensive skill and experience to reduce that disadvantage?
- If the starting goalie is injured or struggles at a critical time, which teams have the depth to make a smooth replacement?
Each team has had their offensive, defensive and goaltending graded, and then ultimately ranked by a roughly even weighting of the three. Knowing which teams have an advantage, and in which areas, can help predict the winner of a round-robin or elimination round matchup of any of the following teams.
We'll start with a single slide for the non-medal contenders, then one apiece for the big seven.
All advanced statistics are via writer's own original research unless otherwise noted.