Don’t expect to see many Flames at the World Championship

Photo credit:Candice Ward/USA Today Sports
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
Every season, players on teams that don’t qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs head off to Europe to play in the annual IIHF World Hockey Championship. The annual tournament pits international clubs against each other in an event that hands out medals and has immense importance for Olympic qualification.
Usually, there would be a lot of Calgary Flames representation in the Worlds. But this isn’t a usual year.
If you look at the current Flames roster, you could carve the group into two big chunks: players that have played in the Worlds and players that would probably like the opportunity to do so.
Chris Tanev, Sean Monahan and Mark Giordano have played for Canada. Nikita Nesterov has played for Russia. Jacob Markstrom, Mikael Backlund, Elias Lindholm and Joakim Nordstrom have played for Sweden. Noah Hanifin, Derek Ryan and Johnny Gaudreau have played for the United States. And players like Matthew Tkachuk, Dillon Dube, Andrew Mangiapane and Juuso Valimaki would be contenders for spots as well.
But as noted, this is a unique year.
This year’s tournament is in Latvia, and it remains unclear if travel restrictions would be loosened in time – especially for a hockey tournament that isn’t really part of an NHL players regular “job.”
Players have been dealing with internal restrictions all season which have no doubt impacted their ability to relax and spend time with their families. After such a challenging year, a lot of players that would normally be interested in going to the Worlds might simply opt out to recharge.
Ryan, Nesterov and Nordstrom are pending unrestricted free agents. Dube and Valimaki are pending restricted free agents. Even absent the other complications, would they potentially risk injury in Latvia without having contracts to fall back on?
Oh, and the Flames are scheduled to play their final game on May 19. The first games of the Worlds are scheduled for May 21 on the other side of the World. From a pure logistics standpoint, a lot of the timelines don’t seem to match up – there doesn’t seem to be nearly enough time for exit meetings and the players to merely travel to Europe in order to play.
The Worlds are a really fun tournament every year, but this is (obviously) a weird year. Don’t be too disappointed when there’s very little Flames representation in it.

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