With the opening round of the World Championships coming to a close, some of the seven Blue Jackets in Slovakia for the tournament are set to move on, while others are headed to their offseason homes.
Zach Werenski (United States), Pierre-Luc Dubois (Canada), Alexander Wennberg (Sweden) and Vladislav Gavrikov (Russia) as well as prospect Veini Vehvilainen (Finland) all will see their teams make the eight-team quarterfinals, while Elvis Merzlikins (Latvia) and Alexandre Texier (France) saw their teams fail to advance from the eight-team round-robin pools.
Texier and France took the toughest loss, with Great Britain's comeback from a 3-0 hole to take a 4-3 overtime win in Monday's final game for each team left the French team in last place and relegated out of the main tournament next year. Instead, France will spend 2020 in Division I and try to requalify for the main draw.
The final group stage games will be held today, with the quarterfinals taking place Thursday, the semifinals on Saturday, and the final Sunday.
Here's a look at how each of the Blue Jackets has fared thus far.
D Zach Werenski, USA
Werenski was a late addition to Team USA and has not suited up yet, as he was not due to arrive in Slovakia until over the weekend. The Americans have already clinched a spot in the quarterfinals with four regulation wins thus far in six games, plus an overtime win and one loss. When Werenski enters will be interesting to watch given the travel, but he should be a boost down the stretch for the Americans.
Tuesday Group Stage Game: Canada, 2:15 p.m.
F Pierre-Luc Dubois, Canada
Dubois joined up with Team Canada after missing the first two games, but he's been solid in the last four on a line with Jonathan Marchessault and Mark Stone. Dubois notched his first goal of the tournament in Monday's win over Denmark and has a 1-2-3 line in four games thus far.
Tuesday Group Stage Game: USA, 2:15 p.m.
F Alexander Wennberg, Sweden
The Swedes have been fantastic in the tournament so far, going 5-1 this far including Monday's victory over Latvia. Wennberg has been a big part of that, posting three goals and four assists for seven points as well as a plus-10 rating in his four games thus far. It's been a good bounce-back tournament for Wennberg, who doubled his season output for goals in his first four games in Slovakia.
Tuesday Group Stage Game: Russia, 2:15 p.m.
D Vladislav Gavrikov, Russia
Gavrikov's team will meet Wennberg's in Tuesday's final group game, and supremacy in Group B is on the line as the Russians are unbeaten thus far. Gavrikov has been his usual steady self on the blue line, not scoring a point in the first six games but being on the ice for just a single goal against. Russia has outscored teams 29-3 thus far.
Tuesday Group Stage Game: Sweden, 2:15 p.m.
F Alexandre Texier, France
The French suffered one of the surprises of the tournament, taking on Great Britain on Monday in a relegation battle and taking a 4-3 overtime loss that booted them from next year's tournament. Texier finished the seven-game tournament with a goal and two assists, but the overmatched French were unable to get much going offensively and then suffered a surprising defensive breakdown at the end of the Great Britain match. France will have to try to requalify in 2020.
Tuesday Group Stage Game: None
G Elvis Merzlikins, Latvia
Merzlikins split time in net with Kirsters Gudlevskis in the tournament to this point, at times even rotating with Gudlevskis when Latvia coach Bob Hartley needed a timeout without actually calling one, or other strategic moves. Unfortunately, in past years when Merzlikins was able to almost singlehandedly push the Latvians to success, this year he is left without a win in his three starts while posting a 3.39 goals-against average and .907 save percentage. Latvia's tournament was perhaps encapsulated by Monday's game, when the team needed a win to try to advance; tied 4-4 with Sweden, the Latvians pulled the goalie only to see the Swedes score into the empty net, thus ending the country's hopes of making the quarterfinals.
Tuesday Group Stage Game: Norway, 10:15 a.m.
G Veini Vehvilainen, Finland
The Finns have been one of the surprises of the tournament in a good way, rocketing to the top spot in Group A over both the U.S. and Canada with five wins and an overtime loss. That overtime loss came vs. Team USA and it came with Vehvilainen in net in his lone appearance thus far. He had 26 saves in the contest after the sixth-round pick in the 2018 draft spent the past two seasons dominating the Finnish Liiga for Kårpåt.
Tuesday Group Stage Game: Norway, 6:15 a.m.