Dylan Larkin was in high school the last time NHL players participated in the Olympic Games. The Red Wings captain is among many NHL veterans who will get their first shot at playing in the Olympics at the 2026 Games in Milan, Italy.
The NHL, NHL Players Association and International Ice Hockey Federation jointly announced Friday that an agreement has been reached to allow players to compete at the 2026 and 2030 Olympic Games. NHL players have been lobbying for this since the league decided not to send players to the Olympics after the 2014 Games in Sochi
Larkin joins Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel among the American veterans who have not had a chance to play on the U.S. squad. Larkin, a nine-year NHL veteran, will be 29 during the 2026 Games. Connor McDavid also has not had a chance to play for Canada.
This just in… 👀
NHL players will represent their countries in both the 2026 and 2030 Olympics AND the 2025 NHL 4 Nations Face-Off. pic.twitter.com/2Qhe7vLoH3
— NHL (@NHL) February 2, 2024
The NHL has previously allowed its players to compete in the Olympics in 1998 (Nagano, Japan), 2002 (Salt Lake City), 2006 (Turin, Italy), 2010 (Vancouver) and 2014 (Sochi, Russia).
According to the last Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NHL was supposed to play at the 2022 Games. But the NHL had to pull out of the 2022 Games because of the pandemic.
Here is a look at which Red Wings will have a shot to play for their country in the 2026 Games:
Defenseman Moritz Seider (Germany)
It’s probably a disappointment for Seider that Germany is invited to play in next year’s Four Nations Tournament that will replace the NHL All-Star Game. Germany is a rising power in international hockey and Seider is the country’s top rising star on defense. He is 22 now and will be starting his prime seasons in 2026.
Lucas Raymond (Sweden)
At 21, Raymond is already among the top scoring Swedish forwards in the NHL. He has 53 goals and 143 points in his first 206 NHL games. Barring injury, will finish this season with an average of 20-plus goals for each of his first three seasons.
Dylan Larkin (USA)
This is a well-stocked American program. Potential centers include Also include Auston Matthews, Jack Eichel, J.T. Miller and Jack Hughes. But it’s hard to imagine USA Hockey not finding room for Larkin who is on his way, barring injury, to his fourth season of scoring 30 or more goals. This American squad is going to be talent-laden.
Patrick Kane (USA)
He will be 37 in 2026. If you watched him this season, you certainly can’t rule him out. He remains a gifted offensive player. But the competition for spots will be fierce. There will be plenty of forwards who will be in their primes, like the Tkachuk brothers and others
He has 205 goals in 500 career NHL games. This is a premium goal scorer. He will be 28 in 2026. Alex DeBrincat will be on the list of candidates. The big question will be whether he can be among their top four wing. If he’s not, he may have difficulty making the team because USA will want some size in that bottom six group.
Marco Kasper (Austria)
Austria is not one of the teams that have earned a spot in the Olympic field, based on recent international competition. But if Austria qualifies, and that is not a lock, Kasper will be on the team.
Ville Husso (Finland)
Juuse Saros is No. 1 and then competition for No. 2 and No. 3 seems up in the air. Ukko Pekka Luukkonen, Kaapo Kahkonen, Ville Husso and Joonas Korpisalo are all candidates. This hasn’t been the best of seasons for Husso. He needs a strong 2024-25 campaign to strengthen his case. His 3.53 goals-against average doesn’t help him.
Olli Maatta (Finland)
Once you move past Miro Niskanen and Esa Lindell, it seems like a wide open competition. If Maatta continues to play like he has in January, he could definitely make the Finnish team. There’s definitely room for a veteran defensive-minded blueliner.
Simon Edvinsson (Sweden)
Edvinsson will be 23 then and presumably will be an impact performer on the Red Wings. Edvinsson’s problem is that Sweden is deep on defense with players like Victor Hedman, Rasmus Dahlin, Hampus Lindholm, Mattias Ekholm, etc. But Hedman will be 35. Let’s see where Edvinsson’s game is next season before we write him on or off the team.