Team Latvia hockey preview: Experience vast, but not enough

Sandis Ozolinsh

Team Latvia hockey has had some famous players do damage on international ice. Arturs Irbe is easily the most famous player in national history. Latvian head coach and current Buffalo Sabres bench boss Ted Nolan has his work cut out for him as only five players have NHL experience.

The majority of Team Latvia plays in the Kontinental Hockey League for Dynamo Riga based in Latvia.

Forwards

Sabres rookie Zemgus Girgensons is the most relevant player on the top lines. Kaspars Daugavins and Janis Sprukts have time in the NHL, but played character roles.

Defense

Oskars Bartulis and longtime veteran Sandis Ozolinsh anchor a poor defensive group. Latvia lost one of their better defenseman Karlis Skrastins in the Lokomotiv plane crash in 2011. His experience in the NHL will be missed.

Goaltending

Kristers Gudlevins plays for Tampa Bay’s American Hockey League affiliate in Syracuse, and that’s about it. Edgars Masalskis is their third stringer and isn’t on any club team, so there’s that.

Group C opponents

Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland

Projected group finish

4th– 0 points

Final position

10th

Follow Jeff on Twitter @sckih_ffej for more sports and entertainment ramblings. Jeff also contributes fantasy advice for The Fantasy Fix.

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