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Lightning Round: NHL players to participate in 2022 Winter Olympics

The waiting is over

Sochi 2014- Men’s Hockey-Gold Medal Game Photo by Christopher Morris/Corbis via Getty Images

After months of negotiations, the NHL, the NHLPA, the International Olympic Committee and the International Ice Hockey Federation have finally reached an agreement, allowing NHL players to participate in the upcoming Winter Olympics Games in Beijing next winter.

The NHL players will compete at the Winter Olympics for the sixth time in history after skipping the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. They, however, still have an option to withdraw from participation if the pandemic situation worsen or if the NHL season is affected by COVID-19 and the league will need to use the Olympic break for postponed games. The deadline for withdrawal is expected to be scheduled for early January.

The IIHF and IOC will cover all travel and insurance costs for NHL players, except COVID-19 insurance, which players will have to secure individually if they want to. All players also will be required to be vaccinated. The Olympic Games will be held under strict COVID-19 protocols, which include the bubble environment, daily testing, restrictions on interactions and movements and even wearing a GPS location devices to ensure with contact tracing in case of outbreak.

The teams must submit their “long lists” by October 15 and their provisional rosters by January.

As for the Tampa Bay Lightning players, who can potentially play at the Olympics, several players seem like a locks for their teams at this moment — Brayden Point (Canada), Ryan McDonagh (USA), Victor Hedman (Sweden), Nikita Kucherov, Mikhail Sergachev, Andrei Vasilevskiy (Russia), Ondrej Palat, Jan Rutta (Czech Republic) and Erik Cernak (Slovakia). Steven Stamkos is an option for Team Canada too and should make at least the long list.

Lightning Links

The Top 25 Under 25 series continued yesterday with young defenseman Jack Thompson, who ended up in the 24th spot [Raw Charge]

Unlike a lot of prospects that you’ll read about here over the next few weeks, Thompson is a pretty strong skater. While it isn’t top-end speed, he uses his skill to create openings in the offensive zone and to get back on defense after jumping into plays. The Ontario-native has pretty good offensive offense and knows when to jump into the play down low.

The Stanley Cup visited Czech Republic this week. Ondrej Palat brought it to the ice rink in his hometown Frýdek-Místek.