Canada’s most expensive goalkeeper and most expensive defenseman. Which stars will play at the 2024 World Cup

By | May 11, 2024

From May 10 to May 26, 2024, the Ice Hockey World Championship for the elite division will be held in two Czech cities—Prague and Ostrava. This year’s world championship will be rich in star names, including the main young players from North America and the most famous defenders from Europe. The tournament in the Czech Republic will take place without the participation of the Russian national team.

Sweden boasts stars like Erik Karlsson, Victor Hedman, Rasmus Dahlin, Adrian Kempe, and Joel Eriksson Ek. The significant psychological shift in the Swedish hockey players, whether due to the creation of a new tournament involving NHL players, a surge of nostalgic feelings for playing for the national team, or some other unknown factor, has led to a star-studded team assembly, especially after the grand failure at last year’s World Championship. Last year, under the guidance of Sam Hallam, Sweden was eliminated in the quarterfinals after a notable defeat by Latvia (1:3). The call-up of the Swedish team could be considered the weakest in the 21st century at world championships. The main star of last year’s team was the then 21-year-old Lucas Raymond. This year, after a 12-year hiatus, the NHL’s highest-paid defender, Erik Karlsson, is making a comeback to the WM, having last worn the national team jersey at the world championships in 2012. Alongside Karlsson, Rasmus Dahlin (who last participated in 2022) and Victor Hedman are returning. Hedman, the Tampa Bay Lightning defender and teammate of Nikita Kucherov, has missed the atmosphere of international tournaments since his last appearance in 2017. Sweden’s defense line at the Czech tournament looks like a dream team, now fully composed of NHL players.

The full roster of Team Sweden has not yet been announced, but to date, 18 NHL players have confirmed their participation—three goalkeepers, five defenders, and ten forwards. Patrick Hornqvist, responsible for liaising with NHL players, has done remarkable work in assembling the team, striving to help Sweden win its first World Championship medal since 2018. Among the forwards who have agreed to participate are Adrian Kempe, who had a fantastic season with the Los Angeles Kings, Joel Eriksson Ek from the Minnesota Wild who has shown significant progress, and the more mature Raymond. Also noteworthy is the inclusion of another Wild forward, Marcus Johansson, who at 33 years old, is attending his first World Championship. Uncertainty still surrounds the participation of Nashville’s star forward Filip Forsberg and Toronto’s William Nylander, the latter unlikely to appear due to recent health issues faced during the NHL playoffs.

Canada’s team includes Jordan Binnington, Colton Parayko, Bowen Byram, Owen Power, Connor Bedard, and Brandon Hagel, among others. This Canadian lineup is robust but not flashy, marked by a working-class strength. The top Canadian in the Czech Republic will be Jordan Binnington, the country’s most expensive goalie this NHL season. In the defensive line, Canada has assembled a mix of experience and youth, featuring another 2019 Stanley Cup winner, 30-year-old Colton Parayko, along with young talents such as 23-year-old Bowen Byram and 22-year-old Owen Power, both representing the Buffalo Sabres.

Notable is the presence at the championship of 18-year-old forward Connor Bedard from the Chicago Blackhawks, the current last first overall NHL draft pick. Bedard brilliantly debuted in the NHL this past regular season, scoring 61 points in 68 games. He would have scored more if not for an injury that sidelined him for a month and a half. At the upcoming World Championship, Bedard might pass the baton to the future first draft pick Maclin Celebrini. The 62nd NHL Draft is scheduled for June 28-29, 2024, in Paradise, with Celebrini, a forward from Boston University, almost certainly going first overall. Celebrini’s future team will be known tonight when the draft lottery takes place across the ocean, with the young player watching from outside the national team’s camp.

Canada’s lineup, solid and carefully picked by General Manager Bill Guerin, reflects a clear message: participation in the upcoming Four Nations tournament involving NHL players is contingent on being ready to come to Europe now. Among those representing the USA are high-profile players such as Seth Jones, Zach Werenski, Brady Tkachuk, and Brock Nelson. The mix of seasoned professionals and emerging talents in the US team underscores a commitment to quality and competitiveness on the international stage.

In summary, the 2024 Ice Hockey World Championship in the Czech Republic promises to be a showcase of top-tier hockey talent, with NHL participants bringing star power and intense competition to the international arena.

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