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Ice hockey: Here are the stars of the World Cup in Finland

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The World Championship in Finland (Helsinki and Tampere) begins this Friday. The Swiss selection enters the competition on Saturday against Italy (3:20 p.m.). In the meantime, here are the players who will be talked about during the tournament.

Nico Hischier (13) and Timo Meier (28) will be two of the stars of the World Championship in Finland.

Claudio Thoma/freshfocus

Moritz Seider (Germany)

Moritz Seider.
Claudio Thoma/freshfocus

The 1.93 m defender of the Detroit Red Wings has wreaked havoc in his first NHL season (50 points) and is among the favorites for the title of Rookie of the Year (Calder Trophy). At 21, he’s already the Red Wings’ number one defenseman and a future league star at his position. Seider was trained in Mannheim, Germany. He is playing in his third tournament after 2019 and 2021. Along with Tim Stützle, the 20-year-old Ottawa Senators prodigy, Seidler will be the big attraction in the German camp. Germany will face Switzerland on May 24 (11:20 a.m.).

NHL Salary 2021-2022: US$1.7 million

Timo Meier (Switzerland)

Timo Meyer.
Claudio Thoma/freshfocus

With 76 points in 77 matches, including 35 goals, the Appenzeller has exploded all his best offensive marks since his NHL debut in the 2016-2017 season. The Sharks’ first choice in the 2015 draft (9th selection) will be the number one offensive asset of the Swiss team at the tournament in Finland. The 25-year-old winger is taking part in the Worlds for the third time after 2018 and 2021.

Salary 2021-2022: 6 million USD.

Nico Hischier (Switzerland)

Nico Hischier.
Claudio Thoma/freshfocus

The New Jersey Devils captain also completed his best NHL campaign. With 60 points in 70 matches, including 21 goals, the Valaisan has reached a new level in terms of offensive production. The all-time first draft pick in 2017 signed a seven-year contract worth a total of $50.75 million in 2019.

NHL Salary 2021-2022: US$7.25 million.

Alexandre Texier (France)

Alexandre Texier.
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The Blue Jackets’ 2017 second-round pick (45th selection) has earned a place in Columbus. The French striker, however, had a complicated last season – his third with the Ohio franchise – since he missed the last 42 games of the season after fracturing a finger as well as for personal reasons. He is participating in the Worlds for the third time after the 2018 and 2019 editions. He will be the number one offensive asset of the “Blues” led by Philippe Bozon. Switzerland will face the French on May 22 (7:20 p.m.).

NHL Salary 2021-2022: $1.525 million.

Mathew Barzal (Canada)

The Canadian striker entered the NHL with a bang during the 2017-2018 season, scoring 85 points in 82 games in his first year as the New York Islanders in the best league on the planet. An exceptional campaign that earned him the title of Rookie of the Year (Calder Trophy). Since then, the offensive production of the center player has decreased: Barzal obtained “only about sixty points during the four seasons that followed. He had seven points in 10 matches at the 2018 Worlds in the jersey of Canada. Switzerland takes on the Maple Leaf team on May 21 (3:20 p.m.).

NHL Salary 2021-2022: 7 million USD.

Nikolaj Ehlers (Denmark)

Nikolaj Ehlers (left).

Nikolaj Ehlers (left).

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Nikolaj Ehlers finds his father Heinz, the coach of the Danish selection, for these Worlds in Finland. The former HC Bienne junior who has become one of the Winnipeg Jets’ major offensive players is coming off a 28-goal season in the NHL (50 points). In 2017, Ehlers signed a seven-year contract worth a total of $42 million with the Manitoba franchise, where he was the first pick in 2014 (9th overall pick). He had largely contributed to Denmark’s qualification for the Beijing Olympics with his father Heinz Ehlers as coach, but he was ultimately unable to participate due to the last minute absence of NHL players. Denmark will be Switzerland’s second opponent on Sunday, May 15 at 7:20 p.m.

NHL Salary 2021-2022: 6 million USD.

Juraj Slafkovsky (Slovakia)

Juraj Slafkovsky (right, during the 2021 Under-20 WC).

Juraj Slafkovsky (right, during the 2021 Under-20 WC).

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The Slovak winger made a name for himself at the Olympic tournament in Beijing in February. Top scorer in the competition (7 goals in 7 matches), bronze medalist with the Slovak team, Slafkovsky had crowned his huge tournament with the title of MVP, all at the age of 17. The Slovak prodigy, who plays at TPS Turku in Finland, will most likely be drafted in the Top 5 of the next NHL draft. A successful World Tournament could still significantly boost his odds heading into the draft where the Montreal Canadiens, by the way, inherited the first pick. The Slovaks will challenge the Swiss on May 18 (7:20 p.m.).

Elvis Merzlikins (Latvia)

Elvis Merzlikins.
freshfocus

The former HC Lugano goalkeeper has become a star for Columbus in the NHL. The Latvian, still as spectacular in goal, has just completed his third season with the Blue Jackets, where he extended his contract for a period of five years (27 million USD in total). A new lease that will come into effect next season.

NHL Salary 2021-2022: 4 million USD.

Seth Jones (USA)

The USA captain – a former teammate of Roman Josi in Nashville – is one of the best defensemen in the NHL. Traded to Chicago last season from the Columbus Blue Jackets, Jones is playing his third World Cup with the USA (2014, 2015, 2022). He was voted best defender in 2014 and won bronze the following year, in 2015. The tall right-handed defender (1.93 m) was the fourth choice of the 2013 draft (Nashville Predators).

NHL Salary 2021-2022: US$5.4 million.

Tomas Hertl (Czechia)

The Czech is one of the pillars of the San Jose Sharks with the Swiss Timo Meier. He comes out of a season with 30 goals (he had scored 35 in 2019) and will participate in the Worlds for the fourth time in his career. In March, Hertl signed a long-term contract with the Sharks, who had drafted him in the first round of the draft in 2012 (17th choice): the Czech center signed an eight-year contract which will come into force next season with a total value of 65 million dollars (8.13 million USD annually).

NHL Salary 2021-2022: US$5.625 million.

Valtteri Filppula (Finland)

Valtteri Filppula.
Bastien Gallay/freshfocus

Proof that its reservoir of high-level players is particularly provided, Finland is playing its home tournament without NHL stars, but with most of the Olympic champions from last February. The player who commands the most respect is none other than Valtteri Filppula, flag bearer of the Finnish delegation to the Olympic Games and captain of the gold-crowned selection in Beijing. The Genève-Servette player is also the player who has skated the most in the NHL (1,222 games), where he also lifted the Stanley Cup in 2008 with the Detroit Red Wings.

Rasmus Dahlin (Sweden)

The 2018 first draft pick (Buffalo Sabres) had his most prolific season in the NHL with a 53-point campaign, including 13 goals. The Swedish defender, who also took part in the NHL All Star Game at the start of the year, is participating in the Worlds for the first time with the Tre Kronor.

NHL Salary 2021-2022: 6 million USD.

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