The 2019 IIHF World Championship starts May 10 in Slovakia, and for New Jersey Devils fans, there are plenty of players to keep an eye on. Not only will both Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko be playing for their respective countries as they continue to showcase to their talent ahead of the 2019 NHL draft, but a total of six Devils players will be competing in the tournament from May 10-26.
Sweden will look to win a third consecutive gold medal for the first time since the Czech Republic three-peated from 1999-2001, so let’s kick things off with the blue and gold.
2019 will mark the first time Jesper Bratt is competing in the IIHF World Championship, but he’s no stranger to playing on a national stage. The 20-year old Stockholm, SWE native has played for his country in nearly every international junior tournament since the age of 16, and was a key contributor to Sweden’s silver medal run during the U18 World Junior Championship in 2015-16.
His participation with Sweden is a positive sign for his health after an ankle injury cost him to sit out the final 15 games of the regular season. Bratt will join a loaded Swedish roster that features former Devil Adam Larsson of the Edmonton Oilers.
Similar to Bratt, 2019 will mark the first time Nico will represent his home country in the IIHF World Championship. He would have played in 2018, but a wrist injury suffered during the regular season required surgery immediately after the Devils’ playoff run ended.
Hischier has represented Switzerland a number of times at the junior level. His most notable performance to date was back in the 2017 World Juniors, when he recorded seven points in five games to help solidify his first-overall selection by the Devils over Nolan Patrick the following summer.
His international men’s career has already gotten off to a great start. In his Swiss National team debut, Hischier recorded a natural hat-trick, scoring the teams third, fourth and fifth goals en route to a 6-0 victory over France.
Damon Severson is somewhat of a surprising addition to the Canadian men’s national team. The last time he represented Canada at the international level was back in 2012, when he played for the U18 junior team during his draft year.
That said, he is certainly deserving of the roster spot. Severson is fresh of a career-best season, posting 11 goals and 39 assists while playing in all 82 games for the first time in his career. Severson also led the Devils in average ice time, logging 22:03 per game.
After being one of the few bright spots for the Devils last season, Mackenzie Blackwood earned a spot on Team Canada’s roster as well. Blackwood will split the pipes with Flyers goalie Carter Hart.
This marks just the second time the 22-year old Thunder Bay, ON netminder will represent his country. He last appeared on Team Canada during the 2016 World Junior Championship as a member of the Barrie Colts (OHL).
Both Mackenzie Blackwood and Damon Severson will be playing alongside former Devil Adam Henrique.
Hoping to keep the ball rolling on his strong finish to an injury-riddled 2018-19 season, Devils goaltender Cory Schneider will be one of three goaltenders rostered for Team USA.
Over the course of his career, the 33-year old has been in between the pipes numerous times for the United States. His resume includes World Juniors, where he won a silver medal at the U18 level in 2004 and the World Cup of Hockey in 2016.
Schneider will compete in net alongside 23-year-old Thatcher Demko (Vancouver Canucks) and 19-year-old Cayden Primeau (Montreal Canadiens).
It’s also worth noting that Devils head coach John Hynes will be representing Team USA behind the bench as an assistant coach. He will be joining head coach Jeff Blashill and fellow assistant coaches’ Dan Bylsma and Kevin Reiter.
Marian Studenic is one of the more exciting prospects in the Devils’ farm system. In 64 games played in Binghamton last season, Studenic registered 13 goals and 15 assists in 64 AHL games, which is pretty impressive considering he’s still just 19 years old.
The Holic, Slovakia native has represented his home country at many international tournaments, including the past two World Junior Championships. He was a member of 2018 Slovak World Junior team that shockingly defeated the United States 3-2 in preliminary play.
World Championship Tournament Schedule:
Friday, May 10
Finland vs. Canada, 10 a.m. ET (NHLN)
United States vs. Slovakia, 2 p.m. ET (NHLN)
Russia vs. Norway, 10 a.m. ET
Czech Republic vs. Sweden, 2 p.m. ET
Saturday, May 11
Denmark vs. France, 6 a.m. ET (NHLN)
Germany vs. Great Britain, 10 a.m. ET (NHLN)
Slovakia vs. Finland, 2 p.m. ET (NHLN)
Switzerland vs. Italy, 6 a.m. ET
Latvia vs. Austria, 10 a.m. ET
Norway vs. Czech Republic, 2 p.m. ET
Sunday, May 12
United States vs. France, 6 a.m. ET (NHLN)
Denmark vs. Germany, 10 a.m. ET
Great Britain vs. Canada, 2 p.m. ET (NHLN)
Russia vs. Austria, 6 a.m. ET
Italy vs. Sweden, 10 a.m. ET (NHLN)
Latvia vs. Switzerland, 2 p.m. ET
Monday, May 13
United States vs. Finland, 10 a.m. ET (NHLN)
Slovakia vs. Canada, 2 p.m. ET (NHLN)
Russia vs. Czech Republic, 10 a.m. ET
Norway vs. Sweden, 2 p.m. ET
Tuesday, May 14
Great Britain vs. Denmark, 10 a.m. ET (NHLN)
Germany vs. France, 2 p.m. ET
Italy vs. Latvia, 10 a.m. ET
Switzerland vs. Austria, 2 p.m. ET (NHLN)
Wednesday, May 15
United States vs. Great Britain, 10 a.m. ET (NHLN)
Germany vs. Slovakia, 2 p.m. ET (NHLN)
Switzerland vs. Norway, 10 a.m. ET
Russia vs. Italy, 2 p.m. ET
Thursday, May 16
Canada vs. France, 10 a.m. ET (NHLN)
Finland vs. Denmark, 2 p.m. ET (NHLN)
Sweden vs. Austria, 10 a.m. ET
Czech Republic vs. Latvia, 2 p.m. ET
Friday, May 17
France vs. Slovakia, 10 a.m. ET (NHLN)
Finland vs. Great Britain, 2 p.m. ET
Austria vs. Norway, 10 a.m. ET
Czech Republic vs. Italy, 2 p.m. ET (NHLN)
Saturday, May 18
Denmark vs. United States, 6 a.m. ET (NHLN)
Canada vs. Germany, 10 a.m. ET (NHLN)
Great Britain vs. Slovakia, 2 p.m. ET
Latvia vs. Russia, 6 a.m. ET
Italy vs. Norway, 10 a.m. ET
Sweden vs. Switzerland, 2 p.m. ET (NHLN)
Sunday, May 19
Germany vs. United States, 10 a.m. ET (NHLN)
France vs. Finland, 2 p.m. ET
Austria vs. Czech Republic, 10 a.m. ET
Switzerland vs. Russia, 2 p.m. ET (NHLN)
Monday, May 20
France vs. Great Britain, 10 a.m. ET
Canada vs. Denmark, 2 p.m. ET (NHLN)
Sweden vs. Latvia, 10 a.m. ET (NHLN)
Austria vs. Italy, 2 p.m. ET
Tuesday, May 21
Finland vs. Germany, 6 a.m. ET
Slovakia vs. Denmark, 10 a.m. ET (NHLN)
Canada vs. United States, 2 p.m. ET (NHLN)
Czech Republic vs. Switzerland, 6 a.m. ET (NHLN)
Norway vs. Latvia, 10 a.m. ET
Sweden vs. Russia, 2 p.m. ET
Thursday, May 23
“Do everything you need to do to keep the passion alive and never forget that it is a privilege to do what you love” – Martin Brodeur