Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (Finland) and defenseman Mattias Ekholm (Sweden) have been named to their respective countries’ rosters for the 2014 World Championship, taking place May 9-25 in Minsk, Belarus.
Their additions brings Nashville’s representation at the tournament up to eight – Assistant Coach Phil Housley, Video Coach Lawrence Feloney, defenseman Seth Jones and forward Craig Smith (United States), defenseman Ryan Ellis (Canada) and defenseman Roman Josi (Switzerland) – were confirmed last week.
This will be Rinne’s third time playing at the World Championship, but first since 2010 when he was named one of Finland’s three best players after ranking sixth in the tournament in goals-against average (1.68) and 10th in save percentage (.929). At the 2009 Worlds, he was also voted one of Finland’s three best players of the tournament after ranking third in goals-against average (1.93) and sixth in save percentage (.926) while starting six of Finland’s seven games.
The 6-5, 206-pound netminder is looking to build some positive momentum heading into the offseason after missing 51 games during the 2013-14 season due to a bacterial infection. He did finish the season on a high, posting a 3-0-1 record during the month of April, which included a 29-save shutout of Phoenix on April 10, moving him into first on the franchise’s all-time wins list.
Ekholm has never participated in the World Championships and last appeared in a IIHF tournament in 2010 when he earned a bronze medal and tied for the tournament lead in plus/minus (+10) while representing Sweden at the World Junior Championship. The 6-4, 202-pound blueliner also played at the 2008 U-18 World Championship, notching a goal in six games.
In his rookie season in 2013-14, Ekholm ranked among the NHL’s Top 15 first-year blueliners in games played (62) and the Top 25 in points (1g-8a-9pts).