Brady Tkachuk among Senators expected to attend world championships

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The season won’t be over for all members of the Ottawa Senators when the final buzzer sounds Tuesday night in Boston.

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After sitting down for exit meetings with Steve Staios, the club’s president of hockey operations, senior vice-president Dave Poulin, associate GM Ryan Bowness and interim head coach Jacques Martin, the players will head their separate ways for another lengthy off-season.

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But not all of them will be finished playing hockey this spring.

Official announcements won’t be made until the season is over, but several Senators could participate in the 2024 IIHF world championship that will take place in Prague and Ostrava in Czechia from May 10-26.

The motivation for players to attend the tourney is different this year.

Not only is there the 2025 Four Nation’s Face-Off on the schedule from Feb. 12-20 next season with Canada, the United States, Finland and Sweden participating, preparations are under way for NHL players to participate in the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.

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Make no mistake, Canadian general manager Rick Nash and American counterpart Bill Guerin are dangling the carrot of the Olympics to those they’ve invited to participate this spring.

That means those who have taken a pass before may be inclined to go this time around.

Among those expected to head overseas are Ottawa captain Brady Tkachuk, who likely will suit up for Team USA for the first time time at this event, along with Senators defenceman Jake Sanderson and forward Shane Pinto.

A restricted free agent July 1, Pinto told Postmedia a week ago he wanted to suit up for Team USA and is hoping to have a deal in place before he leaves. He missed half the season because he was suspended for breaking the NHL’s rules on gambling and wants to extend his campaign.

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Pinto confirmed his New York-based agent Lewis Gross is talking about a long-term deal with Staios. Postmedia has learned the two sides are looking at a contract in the five- or six-year range after Pinto signed his qualifying offer in January so he could get his career back on track.

If Pinto isn’t able to get a contract signed, he could always ask Team USA to get him insurance that will allow him to suit up.

As for Tkachuk and Sanderson, if they want to play at the Olympics, then this tourney will play a big role on how they look on the international stage.

Tkachuk, 24, always has turned down an invitation in the past, but with the club missing the playoffs for the seventh straight spring, it makes sense for him to extend his season.

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St. Louis broadcaster Andy Strickland reported Thursday that Tage Thompson (Buffalo), Johnny Gaudreau (Columbus), Trevor Zegras (Anaheim), Seth Jones (Chicago) and Luke Hughes (New Jersey) will be among the American participants.

Naturally, centre Tim Stutzle has an open invitation to suit up for Germany, but given the fact he’s day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he opted not to attend.

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With the tourney being held in Czechia, it would be no surprise to see winger Dominik Kubalik skate for his country. Goalies Joonas Korpisalo (Finland) and Anton Forsberg (Sweden) are both candidates for their countries, but given their struggles, they may get passed over.

Defenceman Erik Brannstrom (Sweden) is a restricted free agent, but he may get an invite from his country.

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There’s talk Chicago Blackhawks standout rookie Connor Bedard already has accepted the invitation to suit up for Canada while Anaheim’s Mason McTavish is weighing his options along with Montreal’s Nick Suzuki.

Whether any Senators will be on Nash’s list remains to be seen because there are a lot of good Canadian players available from the teams eliminated from the post-season.

Canada may show some interest in forward Ridly Greig. He played a key role for the country at the 2022 IIHF world junior championships and has shown this season he can be an effective player at this level.

We’d normally put defenceman Thomas Chabot on this list, but he has struggled with injuries all season so he’s unlikely. Winger Drake Batherson was a member of the 2018 IIHF world junior championship and remains under suspension by Hockey Canada.

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Stutzle will not play Thursday against the Lightning as the Senators wrap up their two-game trip through the Sunshine State. He will now have missed three straight with an undisclosed upper-body injury after taking a hit from Florida’s Niko Mikkola last Thursday in Ottawa. “Tim is still not ready to play. He needs the time to recover properly,” Martin told TSN 1200’s Gord Wilson after Thursday’s optional skate in Tampa … Dealt to the Anaheim Ducks on July 5, 2013, in exchange for Bobby Ryan, former Senators winger Jakob Silfverberg announced his retirement Thursday and will play his final home game Friday. The 33-year-old Silfverberg was selected No. 39 overall by the Senators in 2009. He has suited up for 817 games in his NHL career and has spent the past 11 seasons with the Ducks. Silfverberg was sent to Anaheim on the same day former Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson elected to sign with the Detroit Red Wings as an unrestricted free agent.

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