Every year when a team is eliminated in the first round, calls come in from the various World Championship teams to see if they are willing (and healthy enough) to suit up for their respective countries. For the Columbus Blue Jackets, many players in the organization received those calls.
Brian Hedger of NHL.com relays the list from GM Jarmo Kekalainen. Ryan Murray (Canada), Pierre-Luc Dubois (Canada), Cam Atkinson (USA), Dean Kukan (Switzerland), Markus Nutivaara (Finland), Alexandre Texier (France) and Matiss Kivlenieks (Latvia) will all be playing in the tournament.
The appearance will be a first for Dubois, who just last season was competing for Canada at the World Junior Championship. 2017-18 saw a huge leap in his development, as he went from an inconsistent junior year to a reliable top-line center on a playoff team. With four points in his first taste of the NHL postseason, Dubois is set up for a long career of impressive moments. The 19-year old could add another one by playing a big role on Team Canada.
For Atkinson, it will be only his second appearance at the tournament despite some great seasons over the past half decade. Though he was only able to play in 65 games for the Blue Jackets this year, he once again showed that he can be a top offensive producer and earned himself a seven-year extension. Atkinson’s small stature hasn’t slowed him down against top competition, and he’ll likely be asked to play a big role for USA Hockey over the next few weeks.
The tournament starts on May 4th, in Denmark.