Preview and projection: Russia

Former NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk will play a key role for the favored Russian team. AP Photo/Lehtikuva/Jussi Nukari

Olympic Previews: USA | Canada | Russia | Sweden
Finland | Czech Republic | Slovakia | The Rest

With their usual star power at forward, plus last season's Vezina Trophy winner between the pipes and home-ice advantage, Team Russia is among the favorites to take home the gold in Sochi. On the other hand, the projection data doesn't actually paint such a rosy picture.

By quantifying each team's players by their recent performances over the past two "partial" seasons -- meaning the 48 games of the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign combined with the 40-plus games in the books for 2013-14 -- we have come up with top-level projections for each squad, ranking them on offense, defense and goaltending, as well as overall.

The metric of choice, as usual, is Hockey Prospectus' Goals Versus Threshold (GVT). Team Russia, at 2.0 GVT per game, is comparable to a good playoff team in the NHL. An average NHL team ranks at 1.5 GVT per game.