Player Rankings: Top 25 Players From the Rest of the World

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In the past few weeks, I ranked the top 25 hockey players from Finland, Slovakia, Switzerland, the United States, Czech Republic, Sweden, Russia, and Canada . Those eight nations are all contenders and each have a shot to take home the gold medal in Sochi in 2014. However, the other four teams (Austria, Norway, Latvia, and Slovenia) still need to prove what they are capable of. But despite their usual early exits from major tournaments such as the World Championships and the Olympics, these teams have improved significantly over the past ten or so years. They all beat out the strong nations of Germany, Denmark, and Belarus to qualify for men’s ice hockey at the Sochi Olympics. Here is a look at some of the top 25 hockey players in the world right now who are Austrian, Norwegian, Latvian, or Slovenian:

  1. Anze Kopitar (Slovenia)- He is one of the top forwards in the National Hockey League and comes clutch playoff time.
  2. Thomas Vanek (Austria)- The highest NHL draft pick in Austrian hictory (5th), Vanek is another point-a-game forward capable of carrying a team.
  3. Patrick Thoresen (Norway)- The current face of Norwegian hockey and one of the top forwards in the KHL; he is a member of the stacked SKA St. Petersburg club.
  4. Michael Grabner (Austria)- After coming out of nowhere in 2010-11, Grabner will be relied on to do big things for Austria in Sochi.
  5. Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (Norway)- The once-coveted NHL defenceman prospect is now crushing opponents in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL).
  6. Mats Zuccarello-Aasen (Norway)- The high-scoring winger has proven his skill in the SHL, KHL, and NHL.
  7. Kaspars Daugavins (Latvia)- Currently an unrestricted free agent, Daugavins broke into the NHL in 2011-12.
  8. Arturs Kulda (Latvia)- He is 25 years old and is already a force on the blueline.
  9. Jan Mursak (Slovenia)- Mursak is one of the best Slovenian players ever to lace up hockey skates, except for Kopitar, of course.
  10. Martins Karsums (Latvia)- The former American Hockey League (AHL) All-Star is now enjoying a great career with Dinamo Riga.
  11. Mads Hansen (Norway)- As a veteran centre, Hansen should help lead a tough Norwegian team in Sochi.
  12. Michael Raffl (Austria)- The young Austrian forward will look to take his talents to Philadelphia this upcoming season.
  13. Thomas Pock (Austria)- He is a veteran defenceman and fan favourite in Austria.
  14. Georgijs Pujacs (Lativa)- The reliable blueliner will help lead the young Latvia team.
  15. Andreas Nodl (Austria)- He has not lived up to expectations in the NHL, but is still one of the best Austrian forwards in the world.
  16. Bernhard Starkbaum (Austria)- Without a doubt one of the greatest Austrian goalies ever.
  17. Anders Bastiansen (Norway)- The centre will bring a veteran prescence to the Norwegian team.
  18. Daniel Welser (Austria)- One of the top Austrian forwards not currently playing in the NHL.
  19. Gregor Baumgartner (Austria)- Despite getting drafted twice in the NHL and going through many farm teams, Baumgatner is finding a niche in the Austrian league.
  20. Morten Ask (Norway)- Another reliable veteran Norwegian defenceman.
  21. Sandis Ozolinsh (Latvia)- The 41-year-old Latvian legend helped put Latvia on the hockey map in the 90s and is still going strong in the KHL.
  22. Mats Trygg (Norway)- The aging defenceman is still one of the best Norway has to offer.
  23. Zemgus Girgensons (Latvia)- The highest drafted Latvian in NHL history is a future third-line centre.
  24. Reinhard Divis (Austria)- He may still be able to represent Austria in what may be his final shot to play in the Olympics.
  25. Tore Vikingstad (Norway)- Unfortunately, the Norwegian legend retired, but hopefully ‘Norge’ will come back just to play in Sochi.

 

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Tags: 2014 Hockey 2014 Sochi Andres Nodl Anze Kopitar Artutrs Kulda Austria Ice Hockey Olympics Jan Mursak Kaspars Daugavins Michael Grabner Norway Ole-kristian Tollefsen Olympics Clovenia Sandis Ozolins Sandis Ozolinsh Slovenia Sochi Sochi Olympics Hockey Thomas Pock Thomas Vanek Tore Vikingstad Zemgus Girgensons

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