Has Sven Baertschi become Switzerland’s Bobby Ryan?
Probably not, but Baertschi, the Flames’ underachieving first-rounder — who is currently toiling in the AHL — was the most notable name missing from the 25-man Olympic roster that was released by the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation on Monday.
The Sochi-bound group includes just eight NHL players: goalies Reto Berra (Calgary) and Jonas Hiller (Ducks); defensemen Raphael Diaz (Canadiens), Roman Josi (Predators), Mark Streit (Flyers) and Yannick Weber (Canucks); and forwards Damien Brunner (Devils) and Nino Niederreiter (Wild).
Here’s the rest of the roster:
Goaltenders: Reto Berra, Jonas Hiller, Tobias Stephan
Defensemen: Severin Blindenbacher, Raphael Diaz, Philippe Furrer, Roman Josi, Mathias Seger, Mark Streit, Julien Vauclair, Yannick Weber
Forwards: Andres Ambuhl, Matthias Bieber, Simon Bodenmann, Damien Brunner, Luca Cunti, Ryan Gardner, Denis Hollenstein, Simon Moser, Nino Niederreiter, Martin Pluss, Kevin Romy, Reto Suri, Morris Trachsler, Roman Wick
Not many of those names are familiar to the average NHL fan. Netminder Stephan spent some time with the Stars, and recently led Geneve Servette to an upset of Team Canada at the Spengler Cup. Wick, a winger, and Blindenbacher, a blueliner, earned NHL deals after starring for the Swiss in Vancouver in 2010. Defenseman Vauclair spent time in the Senators’ system. Star value, though? Not much.
Still, the Swiss play a smart, disciplined game that gives them a chance every night, especially with the kind of goaltending that Hiller can provide. Familiar or not, this is a team that can’t be taken lightly.