The Colorado Avalanche will have four players competing at the 2012 IIHF World Championship, which begins this Friday in Helsinki, Finland, and Stockholm, Sweden. Forward Gabriel Landeskog will play for Sweden, forward Ryan O’Reilly for Canada, forward Paul Stastny will represent the United States and goaltender Semyon Varlamov will compete for Russia. The tournament runs from May 4-20.
Landeskog, 19, will be making his first appearance at the World Championship. The Stockholm native’s international experience includes serving as an alternate captain for Sweden at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo N.Y., and also playing for Sweden at the 2009 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
Landeskog is a finalist for the 2011-12 Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year. He finished tied for first among rookies with 52 points (22g/30a) while appearing in all 82 games for the Avalanche this season. He ranked second among league rookies in goals and was third in assists, making him the only player to rank among the top three rookies in all three categories. He also led all rookies in shots (270) and takeaways (58), while ranking second in plus/minus (+20), game-winning goals (5), power-play goals (6-tied) and hits (219). He is the second rookie to ever surpass 20 goals and 200 hits in a season, joining Dion Phaneuf with Calgary in 2005-06.
Landeskog led the Avalanche in games, goals, plus/minus, shots, hits and GWG (tied). He became the youngest player in franchise history to lead the team in goal scoring. Gabriel’s 270 shots were a franchise rookie record and the second-highest total by a rookie left wing in NHL history. He is the first Swedish-born teenager in NHL history to reach either the 20-goal or 50-point milestone.
O’Reilly, 21, was Colorado’s leading scorer this season with a career-high 55 points (18g/37a) in 81 games. He also led the team in assists and ranked first among Avalanche forwards in ice time at 19:31 per game. The Clinton, Ontario native led the entire NHL with 101 takeaways, which were a team record. He finished second on the club in faceoff percentage at 52.8%.
O’Reilly will also be making his first appearance at the World Championship. He did captain Canada’s Under-18 team at the 2009 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
Stastny, 26, will be making his second appearance at the World Championships. He finished as Team USA’s second-leading scorer with eight points (4g/4a) in seven games at the 2007 IIHF World Championship in Moscow. He also represented the United States at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, where he helped the Americans to a silver medal. Born in Quebec City, Quebec, Stastny was raised in St. Louis, Mo., and holds dual citizenship.
Stastny finished second on the Avalanche in goals (21), assists (32) and points (53) while appearing in 79 games this season. He reached the 20-goal mark for the fifth time in six NHL campaigns. The Avalanche’s assistant captain won a team-high 55.4% of his faceoffs this year.
Varlamov, who just turned 24 on April 27, will be making his second appearance at the World Championship (2010 was the other). He was also selected to Russia’s 2008 team but suffered an injury just prior to the tournament. Semyon represented his country at two IIHF World Junior Championships (2006, 2007) and was named to Russia’s 2010 Olympic team but did not see any action during the Winter Games.
Varlamov posted a 26-24-3 record with a 2.59 goals-against average, .913 save percentage and four shutouts in 53 games for the Avalanche this season. The Samara, Russia native set career highs in appearances, starts (52), wins and shutouts. All four of his shutouts came on the road, tying a franchise record for road shutouts in a single season (Patrick Roy 2001-02).
Varlamov was 8-0 in shootouts this year, allowing just two goals on 24 attempts (.917 Sv%). He led all NHL goaltenders in shootout winning percentage and save percentage.
In addition to the four players, the Avalanche organization will also be represented by two staff members. David Quinn, who is the head coach of Colorado’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters, will serve as an assistant coach for Team USA. Avalanche head athletic trainer Matthew Sokolowski will serve as one of the trainers for Team Canada.