There are seven Oilers players participating in the 2016 IIHF World Championship in Russia, beginning Friday, May 6 and lasting through Sunday May 22. We will have full coverage of the tournament, with breakdowns on how each Oilers player fared each day. It's time to set the stage for the tournament with five Oilers storylines to follow.
1. CAPTAIN AMERICA
The hard working Matt Hendricks has become a veteran leader in the Oilers locker room. Not only is he well spoken with the media, and is always a good quote, he is also an enthusiastic voice on the Oilers bench. It wasn't a surprise that Team USA named him their captain for Worlds for the second year in a row.
Team USA is not the first squad to give Hendricks a C. He did so in college at St. Cloud State his senior year. The veteran winger was also a frequent wearer of the "A" in Edmonton this past season.
In 2015, Hendricks captained the Americans to a bronze finish at this tournament. Can Hendricks, and fellow Oilers winger Patrick Maroon, bring home some hardware this year?
2. CANADA REPEAT?
I'm sure all of Canada is eager to watch their powerhouse team make a run at a repeat of their 2015 gold medal performance at Worlds. Oilers forwards Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle were a part of that team, as well as Todd McLellan who became Edmonton's head coach shortly after the tournament.
Hall has returned to Team Canada looking for back-to-back championships to add to his international resume. Joining him in representing the Oilers is rookie phenom and Calder Trophy finalist Connor McDavid.
While McDavid is already committed to Team North America for the World Cup of Hockey in September, this tournament serves as an audition for Hall and Team Canada.
What role will Hall and McDavid play in the coming weeks? Can Canada repeat gold? Oilers fans should be eager to find out.
3. BETWEEN THE PIPES
Cam Talbot was surprised and honoured to be given an opportunity to wear his nation's colours. Talbot was named to Team Canada for the first time in his career, following a season in which he established himself as a number one goalie in Edmonton.
Talbot's end to 2015-16 was impressive, as he posted a 9-6-2 record with a 930 save percentage in his final 17 games. His .918 save percentage for the season puts him 13th in the NHL among netminders with at least 50 starts.
Can Talbot continue his strong run and help Canada have a successful tournament?
4. DEUTSCHLAND DANGLER
Leon Draisaitl's breakout 2015-16 campaign gave Oilers fans just a taste of the talent the 2014 third-overall pick has in his arsenal. After a nine-point rookie season, Draisaitl put up 51 points, including 19 goals, in year two.
He has become a bit of a German celebrity with media from his home country coming to North America to talk to the 20-year-old. The young centre will try and lead an underdog team to a medal. His father, Peter, was a familiar face for Team Germany. He participated in many international events, including Worlds, in his long career.
5. MATTHEWS MAROONED
Patrick Maroon looks to add some hardware to his trophy case with Team USA this year. It will be the forward's first ice hockey tournament for Team USA, although he won inline hockey gold in the summer of 2010.
An interesting storyline for Maroon is that he is slated to play alongside top 2016 NHL Draft prospect Auston Matthews, who is expected to go first overall. Maroon is no stranger to playing high up a depth chart. He ended the 2015-16 season on a line with McDavid in Edmonton and is expected to be given that opportunity again in 2016-17.
He can provide a little deterrence and protection for Matthews, while also bringing a strong net-front presence to the Americans. Maroon had 14 points (8-6-14) in 16 games with the Oilers, following his acquisition at the NHL Trade Deadline.