Tomas Tatar – Slovakia
This is another lock. Tomas Tatar is going to be one of the top players on an undermanned Slovakia team at the Olympics next year. It’s still a good experience for him to lead a roster of underdogs. He is going to be a leader on the Devils as the oldest forward on the team. It’s not like he’s that old. He’s only 30 years old, but like on the Devils, Team Slovakia needs a leader, and Tatar can play that role.
This isn’t breaking any ground here. Tatar is going to play first-line left wing with the rest of his Slovakia teammates. The next question concerns who else gets to play on the first line. Marek Hrivík of the KHL is expected to be the first-line center. There’s not much depth beyond that.
The only real NHL players on Team Slovakia are Tatar, goalie Jaroslav Halak, and defenseman Eric Cernak. That gives the Slovaks a legit NHL player at each major group. The rest of the team will look up to those three players to lead them.
Tatar still has a tall task. He needs to keep his team competitive despite the rest of the NHL’s stars being on the other teams. It will be fun to see how he responds.