The International Ice Hockey Federation's World Championships lack the same prestige as the Stanley Cup Playoffs; only players from NHL teams eliminated in the regular season or early playoff rounds compete, which means many of the NHL's brightest stars are nowhere to be seen. But for the Arizona Coyotes, this year's IIHF World Championships are a prime opportunity to give their younger players extra experience in a high stakes event.
The Coyotes' defensive future is well represented among the teams heading to the Czech Republic for the Worlds. Oliver Ekman-Larsson will get a chance to follow up his stellar season in the NHL with a spot on Team Sweden's roster, and John Moore will represent the United States.
Mike Smith's excellent play in March and April has not gone unnoticed either, as he will play for Team Canada as they try to avenge their quarterfinal exit at the hands of Finland in last year's Championships. Although his tenure in Arizona may be finished, Martin Erat will play for the host nation as well.
It is possible that more Coyotes make the teams soon. Tobias Rieder has made as strong a case as any to be included on Germany's Worlds team, and other players like Connor Murphy (USA), Lauri Korpikoski (FInland), and Sam Gagner (Canada) are more distant possibilities, depending on how the NHL, AHL, and CHL playoffs pan out.
The tournament does not start until May 1st, so the national team rosters will remain in flux until the opening round draws closer. But for now, the Coyotes will be well represented in international play this summer.
UPDATE: Add Mark Arcobello (USA) and the aforementioned Murphy to the list of Coyotes who will be playing at the Worlds this year.