Hello and welcome back to the final edition of my way too Early 2026 Olympic Roster Predictions!
I will wrap things up by looking at four nations that have all enjoyed various periods of success on the international stage, but all look set to once again reach the peak of their powers in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Switzerland.
Although these nations are heavy underdogs against the big five nations I have covered in Part I and II, they all possess cores of very promising young players. In writing today’s article, I realized just how competitive international hockey is becoming.
For help in making the rosters, I enlisted the help of our Central European Scout, Sam Tirpák. Sam made all the wonderful-looking rosters and wrote a bit on how he thinks his home team, Slovakia, will do, as well as the Czechs.
You can follow him on Twitter @SammyT_51!
The Slovak team in 2026 should be a lot of fun. Young guns like Juraj Slafkovský, Dalibor Dvorský, Filip Mešár are all going to be in their early 20s and more dangerous than ever. Then you have guys like Ondrej Molnár and Alex Čiernik, who are just supremely dynamic and creative offensively and push play in the right direction. There will be some veteran presence in 34-year old Tomáš Tatar and 35-year old Michal Krištof – I expect Tatar to still be a good NHLer by 2026 and Krištof to be one of the best playmaking centers in central Europe. The Slovak team is developing in a direction that is similar to the Toronto Maple Leafs system, which is based around heavy forechecking and playing with pace. The fourth line here embodies that philosophy.
On defense, there are a lot of puck-moving defensemen, including highly-touted prospect Šimon Nemec. But we cannot forget about guys like Capitals d-man Martin Feherváry and Erik Černák of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are both also prolific puck-moving two-way rearguards. I expect some experienced European league players like Christian Jaroš, who would be around 30 years of age at the time, and Mislav Rosandič, who is going to be around that same age, to make the cut. Slovak goaltending is going to have a blast in the next decade or so with lots of young goalies coming up.
I expect this team to be excellent in all aspects of the game and to really push for a spot in the semifinals of the tournament in 2026. I’m not sure if they are going to medal, but they can push for the semifinals spot, for sure.
This Czech team is also going to be a ton of fun: experienced, but also highly skilled with a few guys, that are a bit younger. Stars like Tomáš Hertl and David Pastrňák are all gonna be in the latter end of their prime years while guys like Zadina, Nečas, Jiříček, and Šale are all going to be heading into their prime years or already in them. This team has a ton of rock-solid depth options for both defense, center, and wing positions. Another team that has medal aspirations and this time, very realistic. It would be interesting to see who comes up in a few years on defense because there is a lot of semi-great options and I want to see how that goes. One of the guys that might be higher on the depth chart would be Filip Král, given the right opportunity in Toronto.
Alongside Leon Draisaitl, Moritz Seider will lead what will very likely be Germany’s best-ever Olympic team. At the ripe age of 20, Seider has proven he can man an NHL blueline and looks set to be the Red Wings number-one guy on the backend for the next decade. Currently sitting third in rookie scoring, he is showing more offensive upside than once thought, too.
The trio of Tim Stüzle, John Peterka, and Lukas Reichel – who were all selected in the first 34 picks of the 2020 NHL Draft – have led Germany to unprecedented success at the junior level and will help Draisaitl carry the offensive burden. Peterka and Reichel have adjusted well to the North American game this season – they rank first and fourth respectively in U20 AHL scoring.
Although the Swiss will be led by long-serving veterans Roman Josi and Nino Niederreiter, if they are to make a push into the medal round it will be on the backs of young talent like Nico Hischier, Timo Meier, and Kevin Fiala.
Hischier has enjoyed a very promising start to his NHL career and is the captain of a promising young Devils team. Having Hischier, Jack Hughes, and Dawson Mercer down the middle of the ice for the next decade should enable New Jersey to be a dynasty.
Both Fiala and Meier have really come into their own in recent years. Since being traded to Minnesota two seasons ago, Fiala has emerged as one of the league’s most underrated forwards. Meier, on the other hand, has flat out been one of the best players on the planet and has led the Sharks back into the playoff picture.
Blackhawks prospect Philipp Kurashev is a name to keep an eye on. After a breakout performance at the 2019 World Juniors, the centreman posted nine points in his first 17 NHL games last year. He has since struggled to solidify himself a roster spot but could be an important member of the Swiss team in 2026.