Four Winnipeg Jets heading to Worlds

By Chris Dubiel

Since there’s no Stanley Cup playoff action for the Winnipeg Jets, they’ll send four players to Helsinki and Stockholm in May to compete for IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.

Evander Kane and Andrew Ladd will represent Team Canada, Alexander Burmistrov will play for Russia and Jim Slater for Team USA.

This is a great opportunity for Kane to get some more opportunities to compete in somewhat meaningful games. He led the team with 30 goals and shining at the international stage would be icing on the cake of a successful 2011-12.

Ladd has played in the Worlds before and it is no surprise Canada selected him to go again as Ladd can play in all situations and is a great leader, evidenced by wearing the C in Winnipeg.

Playing in the tournament will mean some more experience for young Alex Burmistrov and a chance to play with more competitive talent around him. He’ll be on a team with a lot of veterans from the KHL so if he stands out on that team it will be significant. He and Kane will be interesting to keep an eye on in this tournament.

After a strong season on the Jets’ third line, Jim Slater will represent the U.S. in the World Championships. The Jets nominated Slater for the Masterton Trophy and the center won over Jets fans with his character, hard work and gritty play. Slater put up 13 goals this season and was strong at the faceoff dot. He’ll be another Jet to watch closely as he’s playing amongst a group of skilled, but young Americans. I expect him to show some leadership for the US at this year’s worlds.

Notable Jets not playing in the tournament include Ondrej Pavelec (Czech Republic), Dustin Byfuglien, Zach Bogosian (USA), Nik Antropov (Kazakhstan) and Tobias Enstrom (Sweden).

Pavelec opted not to play for the Czech Republic to get some rest after appearing in 68 games for the Jets. I feel that this is a smart move on his part, because I think some of the inconsistency he went through came from fatigue.

Byfuglien, Bogosian, Antropov and Enstrom were all banged up at different parts of the year and played hurt to try to get Winnipeg into the post season. Wisely, they’ll rest up instead of heading to Scandinavia.

You can find the complete rosters of all the teams here.
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