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No Habs players at the Four Nations Tournament
Credit: Getty Images

Who better to tell us about the NHL than the NHL website? 

There will be no All-Stars Game in 2024-25. The regular schedule is out, and the only breaks there will be during the regular season are: Christmas and the Four Nations Tournament.

Christmas, as we all know, is on December 25, but the tournament runs from February 12 to 20, right in the middle of the season (just before the trade deadline).

Canada, the United States, Finland and Sweden will face off in Montreal and Boston… much to the dismay of a number of players with citizenships other than those four. In fact, David Pastrnak made some rather blunt remarks after the Czechs won the 2024 World Championship.

But hey, it is what it is; there will only be four nations represented at the Four Nations Tournament. The others will have their bye-week…

Doug Armstrong (GM), Don Sweeney and Jim Nill will be the architects of the Canadian team. Two or three months ago, before the world championships, they hinted that accepting Canada’s invitation in 2024 could bode well for 2025.

Samuel Montembeault, Mike Matheson and Nick Suzuki turned it down (for different reasons of their own).

Well, according to the NHL website, the three guys aren’t on the preliminary Canadian roster. Of course, this isn’t a fact – the person who wrote this article isn’t in the Canadian team’s management and we’re still several months away from that competition – but you still have to give credence to this kind of exercise published on the league’s site.

The forwards would be as follows: Mathew Barzal, Connor Bedard, Sidney Crosby, Zach Hyman, Nathan MacKinnon, Brad Marchand, Mitch Marner, Connor McDavid, Brayden Point, Sam Reinhart, Steven Stamkos, Robert Thomas… and Alexis Lafrenière!

Crosby, MacKinnon, McDavid, Marchand and Point have already been confirmed by management.

Crosby will certainly be the captain of this Canadian team.
(Credit: Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

On the blue line, Evan Bouchard, Noah Dobson, Drew Doughty, Cale Makar, Josh Morrissey, Owen Power and Devon Toews are currently the NHL editor’s picks. Makar is the only one confirmed by Doug Armstrong and his team.

The three goalies would be Jordan Binnington, Adin Hill and Stuart Skinner.

Let’s just say that goaltending, once a strength for Canada, won’t be one next year…

While I’m far from convinced that Stamkos, Thomas and Lafrenière all deserve a spot, I don’t see – for the time being at least – Nick Suzuki squeezing anyone in front. There are other good candidates in Canada.

Matheson? Canada has enough good offensive defensemen before Matheson.

And Kaiden Guhle, who accepted Canada’s invitation to the recent Worlds, only played two games with the team before being injured. It’s going to be “tight” for him at the Four Nations Tournament…

If there’s a place for a Canadian player, it’s in front of the net. Montembeault won a medal with the Habs in 2023, and if he has a good first half of the season, he could beat any of the three goalies projected above. And he’ll have plenty of starts to prove himself, following Jake Allen’s departure

Note that Cole Caufield is not listed as a Team USA prospect on the NHL website. And Kirby Dach hasn’t played enough games in the last two years to be in the discussion…

The other (very) good Habs players will not see their national team participate in this tournament.

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