The San Jose Sharks announced Friday that defenseman Mirco Mueller has been released to play for Switzerland at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.
"This is a great honor and opportunity for Mirco to represent his country," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said. "As an important young player to our franchise for now and the future, we think this experience will provide a positive impact on his career moving forward."
Mueller, 19, has one goal and two assists in 24 games, and is averaging 17:09 of ice time per game. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound defender was selected by the Sharks with the 18th pick of the 2013 NHL Draft.
At the 2014 WJC he had one goal and one assist in five games for Switzerland. He also played in the 2013 WJC; he had two assists and a team-high plus-7 rating in six games.
"I think it's going to be a good tournament for me. Great opportunity," Mueller said, according to CSNBayArea.com. "I've played in it twice. It's a great thing representing your country. I'm excited."
Mueller will be one of two Sharks prospects playing for Switzerland. Right wing Noah Rod, a second-round pick (No. 53) at the 2014 NHL Draft, also will be on the team.
"The Swiss team is not usually one of the favorites in the tournament but we're still trying to get a medal," Mueller said. "That's what my personal goal is going into this tournament. I'm going to try to lead the team as good as possible."