Florida Panthers F Aleksander Barkov (Finland), D Aaron Ekblad (Canada), F Jussi Jokinen (Finland), F Tomas Kopecky (Slovakia) and D Dmitry Kulikov (Russia) will represent their respective native countries at the 2015 IIHF World Men’s Ice Hockey Championship in Prague and Ostrava, Czech Republic, from May 1-17.
Barkov, 19, played in 71 games with Florida this season, recording a career-high 16 goals, 20 assists and 36 points. Barkov’s 16 goals led all Finnish-born NHL players this season. The Tampere, Finland, native was selected by Florida in the first round (second overall) of the 2013 National Hockey League Draft. Barkov won a Bronze Medal with Team Finland at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games and has represented Finland in two World Junior Championships.
Ekblad, 19, played in 81 games with Florida in his first National Hockey League season, recording 12 goals and 27 assists after being selected first overall by Florida at the 2014 NHL Draft. The Windsor, Ontario, native finished the season ranking first in goals and second in points for rookie defensemen in the NHL, while setting Florida franchise records in goals, assists and points for rookie defensemen. Ekblad represented the Panthers at the 2015 NHL All-Star Game. Ekblad represented Canada at the 2014 World Junior Championship and won a Gold Medal with Team Canada at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
Jokinen, 32, played in 81 games with Florida this season, recording eight goals with 36 assists. The Kalajoki, Finland, native has played a career total of 741 games, recording 458 points (157-301—458) with Florida (2014-Present), Pittsburgh (2012-14), Carolina (2009-12), Tampa Bay (2007-09) and Dallas (2005-08). Jokinen has represented Finland five times at the World Championship (winning two Bronze Medals – 2006, 2008), twice at the World Junior Championships (winning two Bronze Medals – 2002, 2003) and twice at the Olympic Winter Games (winning a Silver Medal in 2006 and a Bronze Medal in 2014).
Kopecky, 33, played 64 games with Florida this season recording eight points (2-6—8). The Ilava, Slovakia, native has played in a career total of 578 games, recording 174 points (68-106—174) with Florida (2011-15), Chicago (2009-11) and Detroit (2005-09). Kopecky has represented Slovakia at two World Championships (winning a Silver Medal in 2012), two Olympic Winter Games (2010, 2014) and three World Junior Championships.
Kulikov, 24, played in 73 games this season with Florida, recording three goals and 19 assists. The Lipetsk, Russia, native has played a career total of 386 games all with Florida, recording 121 points (27-94—121). Kulikov was selected by Florida in the first round (14th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft. Kulikov has represented Russia twice at the World Championship, winning a Silver Medal in 2010 and a Bronze Medal with Team Russia at the 2009 World Junior Championship.