Russia and Finland were the first countries to announce their initial rosters for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey to be played this September, and both countries selected Penguins players.
As expected, Russia tabbed Evgeni Malkin to its roster, while the Finns chose defenseman Olli Maatta.
Malkin, 29, is Pittsburgh’s second-leading scorer this season, tallying 51 points (24G-27A) in 52 games. The 2016 NHL All-Star selection ranks third (tied) in goals and fifth in points among all Russian skaters this year.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Malkin will be looking to represent his country in a major international competition for the 16th time.
Malkin last suited up for his country at last May’s World Championship, when he and the Russians took a silver medal, as the star pivot had 10 points (5G-5A) in nine contests.
A native of Magnitogorsk, Russia, Malkin’s 10 international medals include three gold medals – at the 2014 and ’12 World Championships and the 2004 World Under-18 Championship.
The three-time Olympian (2014, ’10, ’06) was named the MVP of both the 2012 World Championship and the 2006 World Junior Championship.
Maatta, 21, has 6 goals, 12 assists and 18 points in 56 games with the Penguins this season. His plus-23 is tied for the highest figure among NHL defenseman this year.
The 6-foot-2, 206-pound defenseman from Jyväskylä, Finland was recently rewarded by the Penguins with a six-year contract extension that begins next season and runs through the 2021-22 season.
Maatta most recently represented his native Finland during the 2014 Sochi Olympics where he recorded three goals and two assists in six games on his way to a bronze medal. He also participated in the 2013, ‘12, and ‘11 World Junior Championships, posting a goal and three points in 12 games combined.
In 2011, Maatta served as an alternate captain on Finland’s World Under-18 team while tallying a goal and four points in six games. Maatta was selected as one of the ‘Top-Three’ players on his team in that tournament.
MALKIN’S INTERNATIONAL MEDALS
Gold – 2014 World Championship; 2012 World Championship; 2004 World Under-18 Championship
Silver – 2015 World Championship; 2010 World Championship; 2006 World Junior Championship; 2005 World Junior Championship
Bronze – 2007 World Championship; 2005 World Championship; 2003 World Under-18 Championship
MALKIN'S INTERNATIONAL TOTALS
|Event ||GP ||G ||A ||PTS |
|Olympics ||16 ||6 ||9 ||15 |
|World Championship ||53 ||31 ||31 ||62 |
|World Junior Championship ||18 ||8 ||17 ||25 |
|World Under-18 Championship ||12 ||9 ||8 ||17 |