2 former Golden Knights to watch in the IIHF World Championship

The Vegas Golden Knights don't have much (if any) of a presence at the IIHF World Championship. However, there are a couple of former Golden Knights to watch.
2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five
2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

The 2024 IIHF World Championship is underway in the Czech Republic, featuring a list of notable NHL stars. These include Connor Bedard (Canada), Nico Hischier (Switzerland), and Erik Karlsson (Sweden). The competition takes the NHL's best players and superstars across the globe, putting them in a singular setting for global supremacy.

Sadly, that competition won't feature any current members of the Vegas Golden Knights, which means no sightings of Jack Eichel or William Karlsson. Of course, the Golden Knights were busy with the Stanley Cup playoffs, where they fell short of their goal of a repeat. However, there are a couple of former Golden Knights that are starring in the competition.

While these former Golden Knights might've not stood out on the main roster, there's still some rooting interest for Vegas hockey fans. After all, it's nice to see former members succeed, even if they tend to burn their former team on the ice. Can they lead their respective countries to greatness and victory? Or will they fall short of the goal and watch the tournament from their own couch?

Why not hope for their team(s) to win the tournament, even if their country has no hope of winning it all? For Golden Knights fans, they must tune in and find out now, for the competition's hot. With that, here are the two former Golden Knights in the 2024 IIHF World Championship.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, superstar at the IIHF World Championship

Well, calling Pierre-Edouard Bellemare a "superstar" is a bit of a stretch. That's especially true with other stars like Connor Bedard and John Tavares playing in the IIHF World Championship. However, the forward is a noteworthy star for France as the only current French player in the NHL (Seattle Kraken).

How did the French player and former Golden Knight do with the Kraken this year? In 40 games, Bellemare only scored four goals and three assists. However, one of those points did come against the Golden Knights. He notched an assist on March 12 in a 5-4 overtime loss, pestering Vegas and making them pay for getting rid of him.

Bellemare didn't spend much time with the Golden Knights, playing two seasons for Vegas. In 148 games with Vegas, he only scored 12 goals and 19 assists, with two goals coming short-handed. He played for other clubs, including the Philadelphia Flyers, Colorado Avalanche, and Tampa Bay Lightning. Currently, the Kraken forward has two goals in three games with France.

While most Golden Knight fans won't remember Bellemare's presence on the club, they should pull for him to lead the underdog story. That's what everyone wants to see, especially if it's in a tournament featuring big names like Canada and Sweden.

Tomas Tatar, representing Slovakia

On the other hand is his Seattle Kraken teammate, Tomas Tatar. Tatar is also a former member of the Vegas Golden Knights, only he's representing Slovakia in the IIHF World Championship. The winger is a little more well-known among the Vegas hockey community, for he was acquired from the Detroit Red Wings for Vegas's Stanley Cup run in 2017-18.

Tatar had a better season with the Kraken than his teammate, Bellemare, for he had nine goals and 15 assists in 70 games this season. The Slovakian star was initially traded from the Colorado Avalanche for a 2024 fifth-round draft pick. At 33 years old, he's still able to produce at a good clip, making him a valuable depth piece.

During his short tenure with the Golden Knights, Tatar scored four goals and two assists in 20 games. He had a power play goal and power play assist, making Vegas's special teams much better upon acquiring him. Although Vegas fell short that season to the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Finals (4-1), he was an integral part of the Golden Knights's miracle run. Currently, Tatar only has an assist in three games for Slovakia.

Therefore, Golden Knights fans will have a heavier rooting interest in the Slovakian star. His contributions to that miracle run shouldn't go unnoticed, especially since it got Vegas on the hockey map. Plus, Slovakia has a better chance of making noise in the tournament than France. So why not pull for Tatar to pull off a big run?

Still, it's fun to see two former Vegas Golden Knights make their mark on the world stage. That's especially true with both players helping the franchise get off the ground in their inaugural season. The fanbase does need some hockey to watch if the playoffs don't look too appetizing, which is why they should watch the two former Golden Knights play.