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Klingberg, Roussel to play at World Championship

Honka, Hintz and Nichushkin also under consideration to play at tournament in France and Germany

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Defenseman John Klingberg and forward Antoine Roussel will play at the 2017 World Championship, which gets underway next month in Paris, France and Cologne, Germany, the Dallas Stars announced on Tuesday.

Three other players in the Dallas system - defenseman Julius Honka and forwards Roope Hintz and Valeri Nichushkin - are under consideration as well.

Roussel, who will play for France, will be making his fifth appearance at the Worlds. The only question surrounding his playing in the tournament was a thumb injury that kept him out the final 18 games of the season for the Stars. But he's healthy now and will get to play in a tournament that will be held in his native France.

"It is important. I grew up not wanting to play in the NHL but wanting to play for Team France. That was doable," Roussel said. "When I started playing hockey in 1992, it was just after the Olympics in Albertville. I think that is why my parents started me playing hockey. Maybe more events like this will bring more French players to the big leagues."

This will be Klingberg's second time playing for Sweden at the World Championship. He played in the 2015 tournament as well.

"When you have an opportunity to play for your country, it's an opportunity you should take," Klingberg said. "It's a fun experience as well, and you get to play more hockey. That's not a bad thing."

The Stars assigned Honka, who finished the season in Dallas, to Finland's national team last week and he is attending a World Championship training camp with hopes of making the final roster for the tournament. Finland has two exhibition games scheduled against Slovakia this week.

Hintz will head to Finland's training camp after his Finnish Elite League team, HIFK, plays in a bronze medal match against JYP on Friday. Hintz, the Stars' second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, had an excellent season in Finland, registering 30 points (19 goals, 11 assists) in 44 games.

Nichushkin played in the KHL this past season, but the Stars still hold his NHL rights. Nichushkin, whose status for next season is still unclear, is with Russia's national team vying for a roster spot at the World Championship. He picked up one goal in two exhibition games against France over the past week, playing on the third line in one game and on the second line in the other.

Stars defenseman Esa Lindell (Finland) and forward Radek Faksa (Czech Republic) would be strong candidates to play in this year's tournament, but they are both pending restricted free agents and would want to have new contracts worked out before playing in the tournament. 

This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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