Predictions for lower-tier teams
Will a dark horse team emerge to claim a medal in Sochi?
Of the 12 teams that have qualified for the preliminary round of the 2014 Olympic men's ice hockey tournament, this series has previously covered what we consider to be the seven favorites -- Sweden, Russia, the Czech Republic, Canada, USA, Finland and Slovakia -- teams that have a reasonable chance of winning gold.
Some pundits would include Switzerland in that mix. For instance, oddsmaker Bovada has the Swiss at 20-1, ahead of Slovakia, at 25-1. However, even a quick glance at the rosters makes it tough to equate a squad with Mark Streit as its top player with one featuring the likes of Marian Hossa, Zdeno Chara and Marian Gaborik. Our rankings -- based on Hockey Prospectus' goals versus threshold (GVT) metric -- agree, and they have Switzerland a cut below.
As we have done with the contenders, we break down Team Switzerland here, along with the remaining four nations -- Austria, Latvia, Norway and Slovenia -- teams that would consider just making the playoff round an enormous victory.
Incidentally, some familiar teams are missing from the mix in Sochi, including Kazakhstan, Belarus and, most notably, Germany, which had participated in each of the four Olympic tournaments that included NHL players.
Below, you will find a summary of each team's results since the 1998 Nagano Games, its projected finish and an advanced stats breakdown of the NHL players on each team's roster. The players' GVTs are combined ratings over the past two "partial" seasons (the 48 games of the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign combined with the games in the books for 2013-14). Relative Corsi is a measure of their puck possession skill. A rating of zero is average, which is also the case for the Competition level shown.
To read the preview and projection for Switzerland, Austria, Latvia, Norway and Slovenia at the Sochi Olympics, including where the numbers say they will finish, sign up for Insider today.
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