CALGARY, AB -- The prognosis looks good for Calgary Flames defenceman Jyrki Jokipakka.
All signs point to the 25-year-old participating at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 despite undergoing hip surgery earlier this offseason.
“Everything is looking good,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said. “He’s been back here for a little bit of time now and our staff has had a chance to check him out. Everything looks good. He’s been training. He’s been skating. I think there are a couple final checks to do, but everything is looking positive.”
Jokipakka was originally named to Team Finland on May 27.
“Any time you can be chosen to represent your country in a best-on-best … and that country has been really good the past couple of years … it’s a great opportunity for him,” Treliving said. “He’s just starting to cut his teeth in the league. It’ll be a great opportunity and a great experience for him.”
Jokipakka, who was acquired alongside prospect Brett Pollock and a second round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft from the Dallas Stars in exchange for defenceman Kris Russell in February, has previously represented Finland at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship and at the 2015 IIHF World Championship.
“Based on today and based on the medical opinion, I would say it’s promising to likely that he be ready for that,” Treliving said. “That’s a goal. We were most concerned with getting him ready for Oct. 12 [regular-season opener at the Edmonton Oilers]. But you can tell he’s put his work in and it looks like he’s going to have that opportunity.”
Eight teams -- Team Finland, Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team Europe, Team North America, Team Russia, Team Sweden and Team USA -- will compete at the World Cup from Sept. 17-Oct. 1 in Toronto. All tournament games will be played at Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Flames forwards Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau will represent Team North America, and Michael Frolik will play for Team Czech Republic. Defenceman Jakob Nakladal, who spent the season split between the Flames and Stockton of the American Hockey League and is currently an unrestricted free agent, will also represent Team Czech Republic.