Do you remember Alex Plante? He was a defenceman drafted in the first round by the Oilers in 2007 (15th overall, in fact). Over three seasons between 2009/10 and 2011/12, Plante played a total of 10 games with the Oilers before wrapping up his career with the organization the next season with the Barons in Oklahoma City.
What about Bryan Young? This one goes a little farther back. Young was drafted by the Oilers in the fifth round of the 2004 draft. He last played for the Oilers in 2007/08, dressing in two games which brought his career total to 17 games played.
And Brock Radunske, does that name ring any bells? A third round pick of the Oilers in the 2002 draft, Radunske's only games played in Edmonton came during the 2004/05 lockout when he played eight games for the Edmonton Roadrunners, the Oilers' AHL affiliate that called Edmonton home for one season.
Why the trip down memory lane with these three players? Because when the 2018 Winter Olympics get under way these three will be there as players. You read that right, they will be there as players.
All three were born in Canada but obviously won't be playing for the Canadian team. Even if NHL players don't participate, and it's looking more and more likely that they will not, these three never would have been considered. Instead they will dress for the host nation of South Korea, a team currently ranked 23rd in the world but as the host gets to participate regardless of their world ranking.
For those that might not be familiar with the Asia League, all three played there this season, Plante and Radunske with Anyang Hella and Young with High1. In addition to their league play, Radunske has been playing internationally for South Korea since 2012/13, Young joined him on the Korean national team the following season. Plante, is not yet eligible to play for Korea internationally, but is expected to be available before the tournament begins on February 10, 2018.
Certainly this isn't the Olympic experience that any of these players would have dreamed of as a kid, and playing in a preliminary round group with Canada, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland it's doubtful that their experience will include much in the way of wins, but a chance to play in the Olympics is something that I would think any player would jump at. And it's something that I, for whatever reason, am looking forward to seeing.