Team Canada is taking shape heading into next month’s IIHF World Hockey Championship.
A source said Thursday that general manager Mark Messier has received confirmation from 15 players whose teams didn’t qualify for the NHL playoffs, including Rocket Richard co-winner Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Canadian Olympian Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks.
As expected, Hockey Canada will be sending a young group to Germany for the tournament.
Perry is the lone representative from the Olympic team that won gold in Vancouver. He’ll be joined by seven others who are 25 or under – Stamkos, John Tavares of the New York Islanders, Evander Kane of the Atlanta Thrashers, Steve Downie of the Lightning, Kris Russell of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Marc Staal of the New York Rangers and Brent Burns of the Minnesota Wild.
The veterans include 37-year-old forward Ray Whitney of the Carolina Hurricanes and 33-year-old Chris Mason of the St. Louis Blues, the lone goaltender to be named so far.
The other players who have committed are Steve Ott of the Dallas Stars, Rich Peverley of the Thrashers, Rene Bourque and Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames and Francois Beauchemin, the Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman who will be representing Canada for the first time.
Messier has also invited Edmonton Oilers prospect Jordan Eberle to serve as an alternate. He’ll play in the May 4 exhibition game and could end up being added to the team’s roster, just as Jonathan Toews was in 2007 and Sam Gagner in 2008.
An additional seven or eight players will likely be added after the first round of the playoffs. Messier will be looking for five or six skaters and two goaltenders.
Stamkos, who is coming off a 51-goal season with the Tampa Bay Lightning, was a standout for the Canadian team at last year’s world championship in Switzerland.
Canada has won silver at the past two world championships, losing by one goal to Russia in the gold-medal game both years. It last won gold at the 2007 tournament in Moscow.
The Canadian team will open this year’s event against Italy on May 8.