While the Habs won’t be suiting up for any postseason action, quite a few of their players will be representing their countries at the Worlds. Here is who is going so far plus some candidates to still be added.
Brendan Gallagher: Gallagher seems to be a somewhat popular choice for an end of the roster spot on the World Cup team. (I’m not so bullish on those chances myself, however.) It’s likely he’ll be used in a top six role similar to how he’s used in Montreal while his no quit style should have no troubles adapting to the international ice.
(Carey Price has already declined due to injury and family reasons while P.K. Subban also won’t participate due to his neck injury sustained back in March.)
Tomas Plekanec: Plekanec has assumed more and more of a leadership role over the years for the Czechian team. As always, he’ll be a go-to player and play in all situations and as is always the case when Plekanec suits up for his country, there will be moments where Montreal fans inevitably wonder why he doesn’t play like that for them.
Lars Eller: The Danes don’t have a lot of NHL’ers so Eller should get a legitimate top six scoring role which should have some Montreal fans who don’t think he gets enough of a chance offensively excited. This could be a chance for Eller to showcase some of his skill, both to the Canadiens and to the rest of the league.
Artturi Lehkonen: There’s a youth movement coming in Finland with the likes of Ristolainen, Laine, and Puljujarvi. Lehkonen is clearly a level (or more) behind those guys but the Finns are likely to consider adding another youngster or two as I can see them thinking long-term with their roster for this tournament. Lehkonen, considering how well he has played as of late, is likely to warrant at least some consideration although I suspect he won’t make it.
Tim Bozon: Despite his struggles this season, Bozon is still one of the up-and-coming talents for France and has already been named to their pre-selection camp. He was in the tournament back in 2013 in a small role and while he’ll likely have a minor role in this one as well, it’s still a good chance for Bozon to finish up his season on a high note.
Alexei Emelin: Russia’s defence corps isn’t particularly strong so Emelin will once again be a key cog on their back end. This should also be a chance for him to maybe get a bit more involved in the play offensively after being basically a physical, stay-at-home blueliner for the Habs in recent years.
(Andrei Markov declined to participate for personal reasons.)
Martin Reway: Reway made the team two years ago and was a surprising final cut last season for this tournament. His play this season will undoubtedly have him in the conversation and after dealing with concussion issues down the stretch, he is now healthy and suited up in the Euro Cup for the Slovaks. If he is there (and not a surprising late cut as he was last year, believed to be for off-ice reasons), my guess is that Reway will be more of a focal point compared to the 2014 tourney.
Magnus Nygren: Offensive defencemen (particularly ones that can run a power play) are always useful in short tournaments which should have Nygren at least in the discussion. He also has a bit of experience as he played in all ten games back in 2014 where he fared pretty well. There is quite a bit of competition for that last spot or two, however, and I think he’s on the outside looking in at the moment.
Sven Andrighetto: Because the Habs have used him as a Black Ace the last couple of years, this will be Andrighetto’s first chance to play in the Worlds. Because of his mild success so far in the NHL and the fact the Swiss have some forward depth, there’s a good chance he’ll see time in a bottom six role. Considering that a bottom six spot will probably be his NHL role next year, that’s not a bad thing either.
Mike Condon: Condon may be able to add yet another chapter to the surprising story that has been this season as he is battling Keith Kinkaid (NJ) and Thatcher Demko (NCAA) for the #1 job for the US. He certainly has a strong chance to win that job although he’ll be playing in front of a very inexperienced defence corps. On the other hand, he’s used to that after what Montreal trotted out there in the final few weeks of the season.
(Alex Galchenyuk declined his invite due to a broken finger while Max Pacioretty also declined his invitation to play.)
The tournament kicks off on May 6th with the finals being played on the 22nd.