The Toronto Maple Leafs have three players participating in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics: Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and Nikolai Kulemin. All those players stand at least some chance to represent their country at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
If the NHL in fact chooses to send their players to South Korea, the number of Leafs in the Olympics could grow. There are a few young players on the Leafs roster that could be in in their primes when 2018 comes around.
The first is of course Jonathan Bernier. Many fans thought that his performance this season might have earned him at least the third goaltender spot in these Olympics. In four years, Bernier should no doubt be one of the NHL’s elite and should be a no-brainer for Team Canada.
The second is Jake Gardiner. Gardiner was on some pundits American teams this year at the beginning of the season because of his play in last years playoff. He is another case in which another four years should only make him better and near a sure-thing in 2018.
Perhaps a bit less of a chance belongs to Morgan Rielly. Only 19 years of age right now, he will only be 23 by the time the next Olympics. However, Rielly is showing what he can do in the NHL already this season. If he improves over the next four seasons, he might be a really dangerous player.
All three stand a good chance of representing their country in 2018 if the NHL lets them, but if only one of them could go, who would it be?