On the "32 Thoughts" podcast, Elliotte Friedman outlined that there might be a World Cup of Hockey organized in February 2025. However, the # of teams is likely to be limited to just FOUR (4):
Canada vs USA played in North America (likely in the USA)
Sweden vs Finland played in Europe
Due to the Ukraine invasion Russia will not be included.
However, this plan leaves out 5th ranked Germany (who is ahead of Sweden currently), #7 Switzerland and #8 Czechia.
Germany and Switzerland would not have a full 26 NHL players on their international roster (about 10 each). Czechia could actually fill a full complement of NHLers on their roster.
Why can't the NHL-IIHF-NHLPA structure a play-in tournament in Europe to determine the two European semi-finalists?
The goals are to grow interest in the game by holding a "best on best" tournament.
If it was structured the way the FA Cup is in English football: where the smaller countries start the bracket in Europe (and thus very few, if any, NHL players would be affected) and then the larger, higher-ranked countries would be added later in the bracket. This would limit the NHL break in action to 8 games; while all of the NHL players complete the break back in North America to resume the season.
Assuming that Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan are all DQ'd from participation. There are no countries in top 24 that are outside of Europe/North America.
With Canada ranked #1 and USA #4 you could have their start to the tournament in North America in a best of 3 series.
The top ranked European team (#2 Finland) would enter the tournament in the quarter-finals and if they advance would get at least 2 games.
The Medal Round would be in North America (to limit NHL player travel and optimize the break in schedule). There would be 2 day gap between the European semi-final and the Gold Medal game to allow for travel back from Europe and for the North America series to possibly go 3 games while giving at least 1 day break.
If Russa, Belarus, Kazakhstan become eligible in the meantime you just slot everyone down accordingly.
Update for actual IIHF rankings prior to the tournament start.