Stan Bowman is going to be a busy man in the next 10 months. Not only is the President of Hockey Operations and General Manager of the Chicago Blackhawks going to have to navigate a trade deadline, potential playoff run, expansion draft, entry draft, summer free agency, and the opening of next season, but he’ll also have to worry about how he’s going to put together a USA Hockey club for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics that can bring home a Gold Medal.
Bowman was officially named the General Manager for the 2022 Team USA Men’s Hockey club on Wednesday, along with Minnesota Wild General Manager Bill Guerin as his assistant GM. While this is all contingent on the NHL, IIHF, and IOC coming to an agreement to allow NHL players to participate in the Winter Olympics again in 2022, the understanding is that an agreement will be made at some point. If no agreement is made, then no NHL players means no Bowman, as well.
With the roster construction looking philosophically different in the last three major tournaments for Team USA with NHL players, the question will be how will Bowman and Guerin navigate possibly the deepest talent pool the USA has had to choose from in Olympic history. In 2010, Team USA was built to be scrappy and make games difficult for more talented squads and took home Silver. In 2014, Team USA was built to be top-heavy but flamed out and lost in the Bronze Medal game to Finland. In the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, Team USA was built to be an imposing, gritty squad but ended up looking silly against much faster line ups with top-end talent.