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Which Calgary Flames could be headed to the World Championships?
By Ryan Pike10 months ago
The Calgary Flames’ 2022-23 season has been completed, finishing after 82 games with a playoff-free spring. However, there are still opportunities for the club’s players to keep playing, as the annual IIHF men’s World Championship are just around the corner.
Here’s a quick snapshot of which Flames players could be suiting up for their respective countries.
The Worlds don’t kick off until May 12 and teams aren’t required to submit long list rosters to the IIHF until two weeks prior, so players and teams haven’t locked down participation yet. But we can make some educated guesses.
MacKenzie Weegar has already accepted an invite to the event. Per Flames TV’s Brendan Parker, Jonathan Huberdeau and Tyler Toffoli are mulling their options after receiving invites.
Nazem Kadri is coming off a short off-season, Chris Tanev missed a bunch of time due to various injuries this season, and Andrew Mangiapane had shoulder surgery last week. All three seem like safe bets to be missing the tournament.
Dillon Dube is ineligible to participate in the tournament.
(Nikita Zadorov also can’t go, because Russia isn’t allowed to participate due to their invasion of Ukraine.)
Dan Vladar has yet to represent Czechia internationally, but he didn’t play a ton down the stretch and would probably be up for playing. He may be in for some competition for a spot, though, as Karel Vejmelka (Arizona) and Petr Mrazek (Chicago) also missed the playoffs and might want to play.
Adam Ruzicka represented Slovakia in the Olympic qualifying tournament back in 2021, helping get them into the 2022 Olympics. He was a virtual shoo-in for the Olympic team before NHL-contracted players weren’t allowed to go. Considering how little Ruzicka played down the stretch, it seems probable that he’ll he in the mix for a spot.
The Flames have many Swedes on their roster. But it remains to be seen how many suit up. Jacob Markstrom had a tough season and might just want to decompress with his family. Elias Lindholm might feel similarly. Mikael Backlund’s 34 and has already played a ton for Team Sweden – including a gold medal win at the Worlds – and so hanging out with his family might be preferable to chasing another medal.
And Rasmus Andersson is still sore from being hit by a car, so it might be best for his long-term health to spend a few weeks in a hot tub rather than play more hockey.
So this is the interesting one because Flames assistant GM Craig Conroy is part of the management group for USA Hockey. Three Flames have played at the Worlds before the the USA: Noah Hanifin, Blake Coleman and Trevor Lewis. Coleman spoke during his exit interview about getting healthy, so he might be a long-shot.
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