Although nothing has been made official, the NHL announced they intend to revive the World Cup of Hockey in 2024. This event would happen in February during the 2023-24 season, with games taking place in both North America and Europe. The last time this tournament was held was in 2016, with Canada walking away as champions on home ice.
Team Canada will again be one of the favourites, as they should have a stacked roster. While there will be some turnover from the talented 2016 team, the 2024 roster could be even more dynamic, especially with the edition of some Team North America stars. Here is what the lineup might look like:
Head Coach: John Cooper
Assistants: Rod Brind’Amour, Gerard Gallant, Jared Bednar
Nathan MacKinnon- Connor McDavid- Steven Stamkos
All three players were part of the World Cup of Hockey in 2016, but only one was a member of Team Canada. Steven Stamkos finished the tournament with two points in six games but should have a more prominent role in 2024. The Tampa Bay Lightning captain had a career year in 2022-23 with 42 goals and 106 points while leading Tampa Bay to their third straight Stanley Cup Final. He has one of the league’s most dynamic shots and should be among the goal-scoring leaders during this tournament.
As for Nathan MacKinnon and Connor McDavid, both were part of Team North America which, despite only playing three games, was arguably the most fun team to watch during the last tournament. Since 2018, they have become two of the best players in the league and should use their speed to cause nightmare matchups. This line could be not just one of the best in the tournament, but one of the best Canada has ever assembled at any World Cup of Hockey.
Jonathan Huberdeau- Ryan O’Reilly – Mitch Marner
None of these players participated in the 2018 tournament but should make their mark in 2024. The star of the line would be new Calgary Flames forward Jonathan Huberdeau, who finished second among Canadian players last season with 115 points in 80 games. He is arguably one of the most underrated players in the entire league and should be a no-brainer for 2024.
Completing the line are Ryan O’Reilly, who is one of the league’s top defensive centermen, and Mitch Marner, who is one of the best playmakers in the game. This line is a perfect combination of scoring, physicality and two-way play. No question they all should have big tournaments in 2024.
Brad Marchand- Sidney Crosby- Brayden Point
Canada’s third line is a familiar one with a twist. Normally, this line would feature Patrice Bergeron, but as the 2022-23 season will most likely be his last, he may not be available to play for Team Canada. In his place is Brayden Point, who has developed into one of the most clutch players in the league. While he isn’t a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) alumni like the other two, he should fit in no problem and help form another scoring line few teams can stop.
Related: Brad Marchand: Hall of Fame Worthy?
As for the other two, they have been staples on Team Canada throughout their careers. Sidney Crosby is still one of the best players in the game, while Brad Marchand continues to torment anyone who dares play against him. While this line would be Canada’s “checking line,” it is fair to say they would have no issues bringing the offence game after game.
Claude Giroux- Nazem Kadri- Matt Duchane (Sam Reinhart, 13th forward)
Imagine having two 80-point players and a player who recorded 65 points on a fourth line. That is exactly what could happen as Claude Giroux, Nazem Kadri, and Matt Duchane could combine to become one of the most skilled fourth lines in international play. All three have represented Canada many times and should help round out a strong group of forwards that can take on anyone.
As for Canada’s 13th forward, Sam Reinhart is a great pick. The Florida Panthers forward put up a career-high 82 points in 78 games and has been a staple for Team Canada since his U-18 days. He is a strong option in case of injury.
Honourable Mentions: Robert Thomas, John Tavares, Jonathan Marchessault, Mathew Barzal
Devon Toews – Cale Makar
This pairing is an easy selection as the two just won a Stanley Cup together for the Colorado Avalanche. They seem like the perfect combination, and it would be wise for Team Canada to keep them together. Not only that, they are two of the best defensemen in the league, with Cale Makar winning the Norris this past season and Devon Toews developing into one of the league’s best shutdown d-men.
Based on their play together the last few seasons, it is possible they could become one of the best duos in the last 20 years. They complement each other well, which makes them so difficult to play against. They are dynamic and should dominate the NHL in 2022-23.
Shea Theodore – Aaron Ekblad
Canada’s second defensive pairing features two former first-round picks who have developed into two of the best in the game. Aaron Ekblad is the leader of the Florida Panthers’ defence and is always a threat in the offensive zone with his booming shot. Defensively, he is as steady as they come, which nabbed him a sixth-place Norris vote finish last season despite only playing 61 games.
As for Shea Theodore, it seems like he gets better season after season. He posted career highs in goals, assists, points, hits and blocks in 2021-22 and will be a major part of the Vegas Golden Knights’ core in 2022-23. He has a real shot at being nominated for the Norris this season and should be able to continue his strong play into the 2024 tournament.
Morgan Rielly- Noah Dobson (MacKenzie Weegar, 7th defenceman)
Canada’s third pair features Toronto Maple Leaf Morgan Rielly and New York Islander Noah Dobson. These players complement each other well based on their style and should have no issues shutting down the opposition’s third and fourth lines. They both have also shown strong offensive skills, registering over 50 points individually last season.
MacKenzie Weegar would be a strong selection for the seventh defenseman. He showed that he can be one of the best defenders in the league and received a fourth and fifth place Norris vote at the end of last season. He is an impact player who would have no problem sliding into the lineup and performing at a high level whenever needed.
Honourable Mentions: Kris Letang, Damon Severson, Thomas Chabot, Ryan Pulock
Marc-André Fleury, Darcy Kuemper, Tristan Jarry
Projecting goaltenders is hard, especially since they can have a down season without warning. Based on his recent play, however, Marc-André Fleury should be the frontrunner to be the starting goaltender. He knows how to perform under pressure and seems to be getting better with age.
While Fleury is a solid bet, don’t count out Darcy Kuemper or Tristan Jarry. Both are playing at an extremely high level and could easily steal the starter’s job based on their play next season and through the start of the 2023-24 campaign. It will be a tough battle, but these three are the frontrunners as of right now.
Honourable Mentions: Carter Hart, Carey Price, Cam Talbot
Canada’s Full Lineup
|Nathan MacKinnon||Connor McDavid (A)||Steven Stamkos|
|Jonathan Huberdeau||Ryan O’Reilly||Mitch Marner|
|Brad Marchand||Sidney Crosby (C)||Brayden Point|
|Claude Giroux||Nazem Kadri||Matt Duchene|
|Devon Toews||Cale Makar|
|Shea Theodore||Aaron Ekblad (A)|
|Morgan Rielly||Noah Dobson|
Canada Has A Stacked Team
Based on this roster, Canada should have no issues taking home the championship once again. Not only do they have multiple future Hall of Famers, but they also boast arguably the two best players in the league. Other teams should be worried becuase this roster should have no trouble filling up the scoresheet night after night.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at area51sportsnet.com where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.