Feb 11, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; USA defenseman Justin Faulk (72) during an ice hockey training session for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Bolshoy Training Rink. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Possible Carolina Hurricanes At World Championships

Feb 25, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Carolina Hurricanes right wing Patrick Dwyer (39) against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes will miss the playoffs for the fifth season in a row, and while that means the season is over, there’s still a chance to play some competitive hockey at the World Championships.

This year’s competition will be played in Minsk, Belarus from May 9 to the 25.

At 2013’s tournament, the Canes had a number of participants including the Staal brothers, Jeff Skinner, Jiri Tlusty, Alexander Semin, Justin Faulk and most surprisingly Jay Harrison.

So in the light of Harrison’s surprising nomination last year, let’s look at some of the players that have an outside chance of making the tournament, instead of the obvious players.

(It’s also worth noting that players often turn down invitations leading to countries not always icing the best teams possible)

Nathan Gerbe – U.S.

The diminutive wingers needs a single point to pass his career high and is having a great season in Carolina after being bought out by the Buffalo Sabres last summer.

Gerbe hasn’t represented the U.S. since the 2007 World Junior Championships, but his speedy game should translate well on the big ice should the Americans decide to invite him.

However, Gerbe will be a UFA at the end of the season and may want to think about his future instead of playing in a month-long tournament.

Patrick Dwyer – U.S.

The defensive forward represented the U.S. at the 2012 W.C. and will always be a good candidate for a bottom six spot on the team.

Every team needs a third and fourth line that is dependable in its own zone and Dwyer can provide that.

However, he doesn’t provide an offensive game that is also necessary. Should the U.S. find it difficult to attract some of the bigger names, Dwyer is a good choice for an invite.

Anton Khudobin – Russia

The Kazakhstan native plays internationally for Russia, last playing for the country at the World Junior Championships in 2006.

Khudobin is coming off his best season in the NHL and with Russia’s top goalies making the postseason, his chances have increased.

Sergei Bobrovsky, Semyon Varlamov and even Ilya Bryzgalov, who has played well for the Minnesota Wild, will be in the playoffs.

That leaves Evgeni Nabokov and Khudobin as NHL goalies not in the playoffs, and while there are plenty of options in the KHL, Khudobin is the best choice with NHL experience.

Andrei Loktionov – Russia

The newest Hurricanes played at the 2013 World Championship, and is having a better season than he did last season.

The way Russia picks its teams are always a question. Usually the nation will come with a varied lineup of players from the KHL and NHL. After the dispointment at the 2014 Olympics, the lineup could be even different.

But in his short time with the Hurricanes, Loktionov has impressed and would be a valuable asset to the Russians.

John-Michael Liles – U.S.

The 33 year old has plenty of international experience having played in two World Championships, one Olympic tournament and one World Cup, but hasn’t represented America since 2009.

Some of that has to do with his teams making the postseason, but also his down years with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

But he has looked better with the Hurricanes and can play point on a second power-play unit.

America will most likely want to go with a younger team at the World Championships, as it has in the past, but Liles would be a good veteran option with experience.

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Tags: Andrei Loktionov Anton Khudobin Carolina Hurricanes John-Michael Liles Nathan Gerbe Patrick Dwyer

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