San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl will not play for Team Czech Republic at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 but will be ready for the start of this season, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said Sunday.
"After speaking with Tomas, we're pleased that he has chosen to put his commitment to the Sharks and his teammates first," Wilson said. "I know he's disappointed to not be able to represent his country but Tomas is on track to be ready for the start of the NHL season and he doesn't want to do anything to jeopardize that.
"Tomas had a breakthrough season last year, particularly in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and we're excited to see him build on that progress this coming year."
Hertl has not fully recovered from the lower-body injury that kept him out of the final four games of the Stanley Cup Final, and the Czech Ice Hockey Association announced Saturday that the 22-year-old forward and Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas would not compete at the World Cup.
Gudas injured his wrist training for the tournament.
"Radko Gudas sustained an upper-body injury during his offseason training and will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said in a statement. "We are hopeful and optimistic that he will not miss any regular-season games."
Hertl is the second top-six forward for Team Czech Republic that will miss the tournament. Center David Krejci was removed from the roster Friday to continue his recovery from April 25 surgery on his left hip; he will be replaced by forward Roman Cervenka.
Hertl had 46 points (21 goals, 25 assists) in 81 regular-season games and six goals and five assists points in 20 Stanley Cup Playoff games last season.
In 200 NHL games, all with the Sharks, Hertl has 102 points (49 goals, 53 assists).
Gudas, 26, had 14 points and an NHL career-high five goals in 76 games last season. He was second in the League with 304 hits, and second on the Flyers with 157 blocked shots.
In 202 NHL games with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Flyers, Gudas has 46 points (12 goals, 34 assists).
Former Washington Capitals defenseman Tomas Kundratek will take Gudas' place on Team Czech Republic. The 26-year-old had 24 points for Riga Dynamo and Slovan Bratislava of the Kontinental Hockey League last season. In 30 games with the Capitals from 2011-13, he had a goal and seven points.
Forward Michal Birner will replace Hertl. The 30-year-old had 13 goals and 39 points in 51 games for Bili Tygri Liberec in the Czech Extraliga last season before signing with Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL.
"Birner is a universal, fast-skating forward who can play in all positions. And Kundratek is a mobile defenseman, not as tough as Gudas, but proven on the international stage," coach Josef Jandac said.
The loss of Hertl, Krejci and Gudas could be critical for Team Czech Republic. General manager Martin Rucinsky said he reached out to Dallas Stars forward Jiri Hudler about joining the team, but he declined.
"We wanted to have him, I tried to get in touch with him for two days with no reaction. His agent said that [he] wanted to get ready for the NHL season and that he doesn't want to go [to the World Cup]," Rucinsky said. "I respect that, I have nothing against Jiri and I wish him good luck in the season."
Team Czech Republic opens training camp at O2 Arena in Prague on Monday. The World Cup will be played at Air Canada Centre in Toronto from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1.
TEAM CZECH REPUBLIC ROSTER
G Petr Mrazek, Detroit Red Wings
G Michal Neuvirth, Philadelphia Flyers
G Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets
D Michal Jordan, UFA
D Michal Kempny, Chicago Blackhawks
D Tomas Kundratek, Slovan Bratislava (KHL) *
D Zybnek Michalek, Arizona Coyotes
D Jakub Nakladal, Calgary Flames
D Roman Polak, Toronto Maple Leafs
D Andrej Sustr, Tampa Bay Lightning
F Michal Birner, Traktor Chelyabinsk (KHL) *
F Roman Cervenka, Fribourg-Gotteron (Swiss NLA)
F Radek Faksa, Dallas Stars
F Michael Frolik, Calgary Flames
F Martin Hanzal, Arizona Coyotes
F Ales Hemsky, Dallas Stars
F Dmitrij Jaskin, St. Louis Blues
F Milan Michalek, Toronto Maple Leafs
F Ondrej Palat, Tampa Bay Lightning
F David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins
F Tomas Plekanec, Montreal Canadiens
F Vladimir Sobotka, Avangard Omsk (KHL)
F Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers
* - named to roster today