At least seven current Boston Bruins will likely be playing in an international, best-on-best tournament next year and at the 2026 Winter Olympics.
The NHL and NHLPA, in coordination with the IIHF, announced on Friday that NHL players will participate in the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy and then the 2030 Olympic Ice Hockey tournament as well.
“For years, the players have embraced the opportunity to compete for Olympic gold, and we are excited that today’s announcement makes it a certainty for our members in the 2026 and 2030 Olympic Winter Games,” NHLPA Eecutive Director and former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said. “We also know that hockey fans worldwide have long been anticipating the next best-on-best international competition, and now they can finally see some of their favorite players represent their countries and line up together.”
All three parties also announced that the first-ever ‘4 Nations Face-off” will be held next February in two yet-to-be-named cities in Canada and the United States. The tournament will include Canada, the United States, Sweden and Finland. It will be held next February in two yet-to-be-named cities in Canada and the United States. TSN NHL Insider Chris Johnston reported that those cities will be Montreal and Boston, but the league and NHLPA did not confirm that in a joint press conference at NHL All-Star weekend in Toronto.
“This marks a new era for international hockey,” Walsh said. “We view this event as a building block to a larger World Cup.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman also once again stated that the NHL would like to get on a cycle of having an international “best on best” tournament every two years. The last World Cup was held in 2016. That event featured an under-23 Team North America, and Team Europe made up of small hockey powers.
So with the returning to international, best-on-best hockey next year, what Boston Bruins could represent their countries at the 4-Nations Face-off and the 2026 Winter Olympics?
Jeremy Swayman – Swayman will have some tough competition to make the USA roster for the ‘4-Nations Face-off’ and the 2026 Winter Olympics. The United States is arguably producing the best goalies in the world these days. Swayman, who will 27-years-old when the ‘4-Nations Face-off’ rolls around, will likely be competing with the likes of 2024 Vezina Trophy favorite and Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck, Dallas Stars goalie Jake Oettinger, and Vancouver Canucks and former Boston College goalie Thatcher Demko for one of three goalie slots on the roster.
Charlie McAvoy – McAvoy could be on the verge of joining the 2024 Vezina Trophy conversation and has emerged into the stalwart, two-way defenseman that the Boston Bruins and so many around the league expected he would be. McAvoy, who will be 27 for the Four Nations, is a lock for that and the 2026 Olympics.
Brad Marchand – Marchand will be 36 next February and has to be a lock to make what, as always, will be a stacked Four Nations roster. However, given he will be 37 for the 2026 Olympics and with all the rising Canadian wingers, his spot on that roster isn’t locked in just yet.
David Pastrnak – Out of all the current Boston Bruins players in contention for the Four Nations and the 2026, even the 2030 Olympics, 2024 All-Star winger David Pastrnak is the biggest lock to make his country’s roster. Pastrnak is once again a Hart Trophy candidate and remains the best Czech player.
Pavel Zacha – Boston Bruins center Pavel Zacha is finally realizing the potential that made the New Jersey Devils draft him sixth overall at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Zacha figures to be the second or third-line center for Czechia behind projected No. 1 center Tomas Hertl.
Linus Ullmark – The 2023 Vezina Trophy winner has come back down to earth after a dream 2022-23 season, but he’s still easily one of the top 3 Swedish goalies in the NHL right now. As of now, Minnesota Wild goalie Filp Gustavsson and Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom figure to be the other two goalies.
Hampus Lindholm – Like Ullmark, Lindholm has experienced regression this season, but he is still a top 4 defenseman on any Stanley Cup contender and should be at both the 4 Nations and the 2026 Olympics.