The 2019 IIHF World Championships get underway in Bratislava and Kosice, Slovakia on Friday with four members of the Columbus Blue Jackets organization set to participate in the tournament. F Alexander Wennberg (Sweden), D Vladislav Gavrikov (Russia), G Elvis Merzlikins (Latvia) and F Alexandre Texier (France) will all represent their country at this year's tournament from May 10-26.
Wennberg, 24, represented Sweden at the 2016 IIHF World Championships as well as the 2013 and 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships. The forward notched two goals and 23 assists for 25 points and 12 penalty minutes in 75 games with the Blue Jackets in 2018-19. A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Wennberg was Columbus' first, first round selection, 14th overall, at the 2013 NHL Draft.
Gavrikov, 23, has suited up for Russia in numerous tournaments, including helping the Olympic Athletes of Russia capture gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics. The blueliner has also represented the country at the 2017 (bronze) and 2018 IIHF World Championships along with the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championships (silver). The Yaroslavl, Russia native, who was Columbus' sixth round pick, 159th overall, at the 2015 NHL Draft, made his NHL debut in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal series on May 4 at Boston and skated in two playoff contests with the club. He posted 5-15-20 in 60 games with SKA St. Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League in 2018-19.
Merzlikins, 25, has represented Latvia at several international tournaments, including three-straight IIHF World Championships from 2016-18. He posted a 1.50 goals-against average and .940 save percentage in six games for the country at the 2018 tournament. The Riga, Latvia native, who was the Blue Jackets' third round selection, 76th overall, at the 2014 NHL Draft, finished the 2018-19 season with a 22-18-0 record, 2.44 GAA, .921 SV% and five shutouts in 43 games with Lugano in Switzerland's top hockey league (NLA).
Texier, 19, has played for France in various international competitions, including the 2018 IIHF World Championships and 2017 (bronze) and 2018 IIHF World Junior Division 1A Championships. The Grenoble, France native made his NHL debut at the end of the 2018-19 season, notching 1-0-1 in two regular season games and 2-1-3 in eight Stanley Cup playoff contests. He also added 5-2-7 in seven contests with the Monsters. The club's second round pick, 45th overall, at the 2017 NHL Draft, began 2018-19 with KalPa in Finland's top men's league (Liiga), recording 14-27-41 in 55 games.