As we inch closer and closer to the upcoming season, it becomes more and more evident how crucial it is for Olympic hockey hopefuls to perform. I already ranked the top 25 Finnish players and Slovakian players, and in this article I will look at the best players from Switzerland. Ranked seventh in the world, Switzerland made some noise after finishing second in the 2013 IIHF World Championships. Many people see this team as a dark horse nation that may surprise in Sochi, but nevertheless, Switzerland boasts a good crop of players who currently play all over the world. Here is a look at the current top 25 Swiss hockey players in the world:
1. Jonas Hiller
The Anaheim Ducks netminder has put up solid numbers the past couple of seasons in the NHL. His vertigo symptoms are behind him, and he is looking to get back to being on the best goalies in the world. He will likely backstop Team Switzerland in Sochi.
2. Mark Streit
Streit was the face of Swiss hockey for many years and is still one of the country’s best hockey players at age 35. The offensive defenceman used to be the captain of the New York Islanders.
3. Raphael Diaz
The Momtreal Canadiens defenceman has surprisingly provided great reliability to the Habs back end. Although undrafted, Diaz is now an NHL regular.
Brunner had a great season with the Red Wings in 2013. Relatively unknown at the time of his North American arrival last offseason, Brunner surprised everyone by scoring 26 points last season.
5. Luca Sbisa
Although he had an “off” year in 2013, there is hope the former 19th overall pick can comeback this upcoming season. The defenceman plays with fellow Swiss and Anaheim Duck, Jonas Hiller.
6. Roman Josi
Another Swiss defenceman playing in the NHL, Josi is a member of the stacked Nashville Predators defence. He was named MVP of the 2013 IIHF World Championships.
The Flames prospect was drafted 13th overall in 2011 and has performed well in stints with the team so far.
Drafted 5th overall in 2010, Niederreiter has yet to make an impact in the NHL. In 2011-12, he only scored 1 goal in 55 games. However, he is only 20 and has loads of potential.
The Canucks defenceman has shown that he can be an NHL regular after playing 60 games in 2011-12.
10. Andres Ambuhl
The 29-year-old National League A (NLA) veteran has been a top forward in the league for many years.
11. Reto Suri
A great Swiss forward approaching his prime, Suri signed a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning for the upcoming season.
12. Tim Ramholt
The 28-year-old defenceman struggled to find playing time in the NHL before beginning a solid career in the National League A.
13. Juraj Simek
Like Ramholt, Simek played mainly in the AHL before coming back to playbin Switzerland. The winger has put up quality number since then.
14. Tobias Stephan
The ex-Dallas Star has been a top goaltender in the NLA.
15. Roman Wick
Wick had a stint with the Ottawa Senators and the 27-year-old winger has also been a top player with the Kloten Flyers of the NLA.
16. Martin Pluss
Similar to Ambuhl, Pluss is an NLA veteran who has put up many points thoughout the years.
17. Martin Gerber
Yes, he is 38 years old, but the former superstar netminder put up solid numbers in Sweden last season.
The Canadian-Swiss centre has had two so-so seasons after representing Switzerland in the 2010 Olympics. Although he wasn’t invited to the orientation camp, his veteran presence and a strong season may force him into the roster.
19. Reto Berra
The Flames goalie prospect will have big shoes to fill if he is put into the spotlight to replace Miikka Kiprusoff.
20. Luca Cunti
The former 3rd round pick is still young and able to put up points in the NLA.
21. Severin Blindebacher
The 30-year-old defenceman broke out in 2008-09 in the NLA with 35 points in 47 games.
22. Mirco Mueller
The 18th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft is a big defenceman who did well in the Western Hockey League last season.
23. Ryan Gardner
Another Canadian-born Swiss, Gardner is an NLA veteran who has represented Switzerland before.
24. Benjamin Conz
Conz is only 21 and has put up great numbers as a goalie in professional European leagues.
25. Thibaut Monnet
The winger has represented Switzerland many times and will be looking forward to doing again in Sochi.
Topics: Andres Ambuhl, Brunner, Damien Brunner, Domenichelli, Gerber, Hiller, Hockey, Jonas Hiller, Luca Sbisa, Mark Streit, Martin Gerber, Nino Niederreiter, Reto Suri, Sbisa, Sochi, Streit, Sven Baertschi, Swiss, Switzerland, Tim Ramholt, Yannick Weber