Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene and goaltender Calvin Pickard were named to Team Canada's initial roster Monday for the 2016 IIHF World Championship.
The two Avs were part of a group of 18 players that Hockey Canada confirmed to play at the tournament, which runs May 6-22 in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. Canada is the defending champion after going undefeated at the 2015 event in Prague and Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Duchene is no stranger to wearing Canada's maple leaf crest on his jersey. The Haliburton, Ontario, native has represented his country at four previous world championships and at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He won gold medals at the Olympics and at last year's Worlds, where he recorded 12 points (four goals and eight assists) in 10 contests.
The center led the Avalanche this past season in goals (30), points (59), game-winning goals (six-tied), faceoff percentage (57.9) and takeaways (43). His 30 tallies set a new career high, and he became the first Colorado player to hit the 30-goal mark since 2006-07 (Joe Sakic 36, Milan Hejduk 35).
Pickard will represent Canada for the first time as a professional. Born in Moncton, New Brunswick, but raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Pickard last played for Team Canada at the 2010 Under-18 World Championship. He saw action in six tournament games that year and finished with a 2.87 goals-against average and .894 save percentage.
The netminder appeared in 20 contests with the Avs last season, posting a 7-6-1 record, 2.56 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. Pickard earned his first career NHL shutout with a 27-save effort on Jan. 14 against the New Jersey Devils. He began the season with the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League, going 5-0-1 in his first six games en route to being named the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month for October.
Canada has won the World Championship 25 times in its history. Its gold medal last May was the country's first at the tournament since 2007.