Aho, Barkov, Rantanen submitted by Finland for 2022 Olympics

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Sebastian Aho, Aleksander Barkov and Mikko Rantanen are the first names submitted to be part of the Finland men’s hockey team at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

Each will be playing in his first Olympics. Participating countries were asked to declare three players last month.

Aho, a 24-year-old center for the Carolina Hurricanes, scored a team-high 57 points (24 goals, 33 assists) last season and 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 11 Stanley Cup Playoff games, including the winning goal in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup First Round to eliminate the Nashville Predators. He has led the Hurricanes in goals the past four seasons and is 13th in the NHL with 145 goals since his debut in 2016-17. 

Barkov, captain of the Florida Panthers, scored 58 points (26 goals, 32 assists) in 50 games last season. The 26-year-old won the Selke Trophy voted as the best defensive forward in the NHL. He is the only player in Panthers history with six consecutive 50-point and 20-goal seasons. 

Rantanen, a 24-year-old forward, scored 66 points (30 goals, 36 assists) in 52 games with an NHL-best plus-30 rating last season to help the Colorado Avalanche win the Presidents’ Trophy, awarded to the best team in the NHL during the regular season. He joined Milan Hejduk (five times) as the only right wings in Quebec Nordiques/Avalanche history to have multiple 30-goal seasons. His 1.27 points per game tied Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews for sixth in the NHL last season and his 0.58 goals-per game was fourth and the highest by a Colorado player since Hejduk (0.61) in 2002-03.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid and Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo were the first names submitted Sunday to be part of the Canada men’s hockey team. New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog were the first names submitted Wednesday for the Sweden men’s hockey team.

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