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Which current Calgary Flames could play at a potential 2025 World Cup of Hockey?

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Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
8 months ago
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It’s been a long, long time since we’ve seen true best-on-best international hockey involving National Hockey League players. Since the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, we haven’t seen a World Cup or NHL participation at the Winter Olympics. But indications are that we could be seeing a February 2025 edition of the World Cup!
As we sit here, a year and a half away from a potential tournament, let’s ponder which current Calgary Flames players could be taking part in the event.
We don’t know exactly what the format will be for the 2025 event, so we’ll make some educated guesses. Past World Cups involved eight teams, so we’ll simply take the top eight teams from the current International Ice Hockey Federation world ranking: Canada, Finland, Russia, the United States, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Czechia.
We’re assessing chances based on each player’s performances combined with their past international experiences.

Sweden

Even in a down year, Elias Lindholm was sixth among Swedish NHL forwards in points. He’s represented Sweden at eight major tournaments. Barring anything shocking, he’ll be at the World Cup.
Mikael Backlund will be a month shy of his 36th birthday when the World Cup begins… but he’s also still a very productive player and has represented Sweden 11 times, including captaining his country to a World Championship. Unless his game really falls off in the interim, he’ll be hard to keep off the team.
Rasmus Andersson was tied for fourth among Swedish blueliners in points last season, second among right-shot blueliners. He hasn’t represented Sweden since the men’s Under-18 Worlds before his draft year, but he’s a strong contender here. (And don’t sleep on Oliver Kylington, who could push his way into consideration with a strong 2023-24 season).
Lastly, it would be shocking if Jacob Markstrom didn’t find his way onto the team. He’s one of the most prominent Swedish goaltenders and has suited up for his country nine times. If he has a bounce-back season for the Flames in 2023-24, he’s probably a shoo-in.

United States

The only Flames-related player that might have a shot is Noah Hanifin, who’s represented the United States at six different tournaments. That said, the Americans have a super-stacked blueline and he has an uphill battle to make the team.
(Comments section and fans on social media: We hear you. We see you. But even if Dustin Wolf became starting goaltender of the Flames tomorrow – and he probably won’t – there are just too many high-end established goaltenders from the United States for him to crack the American roster.)

Czechia

Dan Vladar seems like he would definitely be in the mix for one of the three goaltending spots for Czechia. He’s hardly a lock, but he’s represented his country seven times at various events and still seems like an NHL goaltender on the rise.

Russia*

So here’s the deal with Russia: they invaded Ukraine and have been barred from IIHF-sanctioned events since then. If the war ends and they’re reinstated for tournaments, Nikita Zadorov would have a good chance of playing for his country. There’s no guarantee that will happen, though.

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