Although the Washington Capitals won’t be represented at the 2022 Winter Olympics with the NHL opting out of the games, there will be quite a few familiar faces headed to Beijing.
Former Capitals defensemen Aaron Ness, Jakub Jerabek and Tomas Kundratek will get the opportunity to suit up for their countries come February. Ness will represent Team USA, and Jerabek and Kundratek will play for the Czech Republic.
Ness spent four years with the Capitals organization and mainly played with the AHL’s Hershey Bears. He picked up three assists in 18 total games up with Washington, and in 239 total games with Hershey, the 31-year-old dished 15 goals, 128 points and a +/- of plus-23.
The 31-year-old currently plays for Providence in the AHL after signing a professional tryout with Boston earlier in the season. Through 25 games with the B’s, he has dished seven assists and is a plus-3.
Meanwhile, Team Czechia features two former Capitals blueliners in Jerabek and Kundratek. Jerabek’s stint in D.C. wasn’t a long one after he joined the team at the 2018 trade deadline, coming over from Montreal to provide depth on the backend.
He skated in 11 games for the Capitals to close out the 2017-18 regular season, recording a goal and three helpers through 11 games. He also skated in two games for Washington in their 2018 Stanley Cup run, picking up an assist and two PIM.
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After another season in North America with the 2019 Cup champion St. Louis Blues and their AHL-affiliate San Antonio Rampage, Jerabek made his way overseas to continue his career in the KHL. The 30-year-old is currently playing with Moscow Spartak and has three goals and seven points, along with 10 PIM.
Kundratek came over to Washington from New York in a trade for Francois Bouchard back in 2011. He drew into the lineup for over half of the shortened 2012-13 lockout season, picking up a goal and seven points through 25 games.
Following the signing of Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, as well as an ACL injury, Kundratek shifted into a full-time AHL role. He played solely with Hershey over his final two seasons with the organization. He posted five goals and 22 assists in 59 games with the Bears in 2014-15 before heading to the KHL to continue his career.
The 32-year-old has been with the Czech league for the last three seasons, and through 34 games this year with Trinec Ocelari HC, Kundratek has eight goals, 15 points and 24 PIM, along with a +/- of plus-12.
There are still a number of former Capitals that are getting Olympic consideration as countries continue to unveil their final rosters. Per reports, Daniel Carr, Daniel Winnik and Brendan Leipsic are on Team Canada’s shortlist. Eric Fehr’s name is also gaining traction.