New York Islanders
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

With the New York Islanders hoping to avoid a last-place finish, you might not think they’d have much representation at the upcoming World Championships. Think again.

Over the past few days, the various countries that are participating in the IIHF World Championships in Denmark, are feeling like it is Christmas; as the invitations for players to participate in the Global Hockey’s strongest tournament outside of the Olympics are handed out.

For the New York Islanders, it specifically means that several players will not get to begin their offseason rituals just yet.

Mathew Barzal, fresh off his stellar rookie season, was one of the first invites to be given from Team Canada.

As Newsday‘s Andrew Gross notes, Barzal was most excited to get the potential opportunity to play with the likes of Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers.  As of now – McDavid is still weighing the options of playing for the Maple Leaf.

On Wednesday, defenseman Ryan Pulock and forward Jordan Eberle were also given invitations to play with Team Canada, according to The Athletic’s Arthur Staple.

As for Team USA, forwards Anders Lee (wedding plans), and Brock Nelson (birth of his first child) will not be accepting an invitation to play. Defenseman Nick Leddy, with an NHL-low minus-45, is contemplating the decision.

Thomas Greiss and Dennis Seidenberg are currently thinking about potential roster spots for the German team, along with Jaroslav Halak for Slovakia.

But the biggest name weighing a decision to play is John Tavares. With his contract status and potential free agency in a huge state of flux, Tavares will be quite a dominant face to add to a typically strong Canadian lineup.

The World Championships will be played this year from May 4 through May 20 in Copenhagen and Hering, Denmark. Former Islander and current Detroit Red Wing Frans Nielsen will be playing for the host team, and most likely playing in his hometown arena during the tournament.

Canada and the USA will be playing the same Group (Group B), along with Finland, Germany, Norway, Latvia, South Korea, and the hosts Denmark.  Group A will consist of Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belarus, Slovakia, France, and Austria.

Was an Islanders Blogger for many years. Started Eyes On Isles (can not accept responsibility for it now...), and started Isles Talk, before passing it on. For the last 5 years, I have been a host on Sports Talk 1240 on WGBB 1240 AM on Long Island. While my primary focus is of the NY Islanders, I love talking Hockey in general (including the Sheffield Steelers in England), as well as dabble in a little baseball (Mets and Long Island Ducks), and support the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, and Everton in the EPL.