Last Year – Probably the biggest benefactor from the fall of the US, the Finns made it to the Bronze medal game, falling 4-0 to team Canada to end up in 4th place.
# Returnees – 9 – Olli Maatta, Ville Pokka, Rasmus Ristolainen, Miro Aaltonen, Joel Armia, Aleksander Barkov, Markus Granlund, Markus Hannikainen, Miikka Salomaki
Key Players – Olli Maata was injured in the first game last year, which hurt the Finnish chances to capture a medal. Having him in the lineup will boost the blueline. Joel Armia provides a good combination of grit and skill that will benefit his team, especially against the likes of Canada and the US, should they meet in the medal round.
Watch For – Alexander Barkov is the top rated Finnish skater and could be the top pick after the concensus top 2 (MacKinnon and Jones) in the 2013 entry draft. He is 6’2″, 210 lbs and should be a force for the Finns.
Prediction – Finland has the benefit of avoiding the Russians, Canadians and Americans in the round robin portion. That will allow them to qualify for the quarterfinals at worst, and they could compete with rival Sweden for the top spot in their pool. From there, it depends on the draw, but whatever cross-over team they face will pose a monumental challenge. They look to be slotted to play in the 5-6 game, which would be a disappointing drop from last year.