Team Canada will be without several eligible players when the world junior hockey championship begins against the Finns on Tuesday.

Head coach Alan Letang, however, is focusing on the players in attendance as Canada looks to win a third straight gold medal.

It would be the first feat of its kind since Canada triumphed five times in a row, between 2005 and 2009.

“We have the group we have,” Letang said. If we win with four lines, there is nothing wrong with that. When you don’t have a superstar, everyone can contribute. Depth is our strength. »

Among the NHL players missing is Connor Bedard — who rewrote Canada’s record books last year in Halifax — in addition to Adam Fantilli, Shane Wright and Kevin Korchinski.

The group that is expected to take the ice in Gothenburg on Boxing Day, however, has a lot to offer.

Macklin Celebrini, presumptive first pick in the upcoming draft, leads the forwards with Conor Geekie, Matthew Savoie and Owen Beck — a Montreal Canadiens prospect and the only player returning with the junior roster.

The defensemen are led by Denton Mateychuk and Maveric Lamoureux.

“There are some guys who aren’t here, but we have a great group,” said Celebrini, who excelled with Boston University. We have several outstanding players. »

Scott Ratzlaff, Mathis Rousseau and Samuel St-Hilaire will try to establish themselves in front of the net.

The brigade received a boost when the Bruins loaned center Matthew Poitras, who had 13 points in 27 games this season.

“The whole country is tuning in after Christmas,” said Letang, who was an assistant when Canada won gold in 2020 and 2023.

“These guys haven’t experienced anything like this yet. There will be some nervousness, but they are happy to have the chance to shine. »

The United States is seen as favorite alongside Sweden, but that doesn’t bother Canada. One feeling sums up well how the club perceives itself.

“We never give up,” Geekie said.

“Tenacious and resilient,” Letang added. This has to be our mentality. We all have something to prove to each other and everyone. »

Canada is in Group A with Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Germany.

The medal round will begin on January 2. The final will take place on January 5.