Two Columbus Blue Jackets draft picks have been selected to play for their respective national teams at the upcoming World Junior Championships. Defenseman Kris Russell was named to Team Canada, while forward Petr Pohl was selected to the Czech Republic team, club President and General Manager Doug MacLean announced today. Both players will be making their WJC debuts at this year's tournament, which will be held from December 26 to January 5 in Kamloops, Kelowna and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Russell, 18, was the Blue Jackets' third pick, 67th overall, at the 2005 Entry Draft. In 30 games with Medicine Hat of the Western Hockey League this season, he has registered 8-17-25, 10 penalty minutes and a +5 plus/minus rating. He currently ranks sixth among WHL defensemen in scoring. The Caroline, Alberta native has 38-67-105 and 77 penalty minutes in 157 career WHL games. Last season, he racked up 26-35-61 and 37 penalty minutes in 72 games with the Tigers to lead all league defensemen in goals and rank third in points. His +29 plus/minus rating was ninth-best among all WHL players in 2004-05.
Pohl, 19, was Columbus' fifth pick, 133rd overall, in the 2004 Entry Draft. He currently plays for Acadie-Bathurst of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and has tallied 15-33-48 with 40 penalty minutes and is +8 in 35 games this season. The native of Prostejov, Czech Republic has spent three seasons in the QMJHL, registering 65-92-157 and 72 penalty minutes in 167 career games. Pohl spent his first two seasons with Gatineau, including 2004-05 when he notched 27-32-59 and 16 penalty minutes in 62 outings.