As sixteen nations descend on Slovakia for the 2019 IIHF World Hockey Championships, Leafs Nation will see some familiar faces suiting up and going for gold throughout the next two weeks.
Three Maple Leafs are ready for the tournament's opening face off on Friday in the cities of Bratislava and Kosice.
The Tre Kronor will see William Nylander back in the lineup, playing with Sweden for the first time since winning gold at the 2017 World Championships, where he was also named Tournament MVP. Nylander scored seven goals and 27 points in 54 games with the Leafs this season, adding an additional three points in the playoffs to build off of heading into the international tournament.
Sweden starts out on Friday with a contest against the Czech Republic.
Returning to the Russian national team after earning 8 assists in 8 games last spring, Nikita Zaitsev is set to play in his second straight World Championships. Zaitsev played in 81 games with the Leafs this season, collecting 14 points from the blue line. Internationally, he has 15 points in 25 games with the Russian senior national team.
Russia gets under way against Norway to open the tournament on Friday.
Buds blueliner Martin Marincin is representing the home country, one of six NHLers on the Slovakia roster. Marincin played 24 games with the Leafs this season, tallying five points. On the world stage, this will be Marincin's third time representing Slovakia at the World Championships. He also represented Slovakia at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games and has 18 career senior international games.
Slovakia opens the tournament against the USA on Friday.
John Tavares was set to represent Canada coming off of his 47-goal, 88-point campaign. On Thursday, it was announced that Tavares will return to Toronto for further evaluation by Leafs medical staff after suffering an oblique injury.