Finland's general manager, one Dallas Stars legend Jere Lehtinen, announced his preliminary World Cup of Hockey roster this morning. In a surprise move, Stars defensive prospect Esa Lindell was named as part of the blueline group Lehtinen assembled.
Lindell is one of the Dallas Stars' highly touted defensive prospects. He made the Team Finland roster, which is made up of established NHL players, as a prospect. That is a big deal for the young Finn, who has impressed in the AHL this season recording 10 goals and 22 assists in 56 games so far this year. Lindell is a rookie this season, playing his first year in North America after coming over from Assat of SM-Liiga.
The Finnish roster appears to be full of capable two-way players, and Lindell's puck movement from the back end should help the team in the offensive zone without a roster of snipers to rely upon. The full Team Finland roster is as follows:
Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins, G
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators, G
Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh Penguins, D
Rasmus Ristolainen, Buffalo Sabres, D
Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks, D
Esa Lindell, Dallas Stars, D
Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild, F
Jori Lehtera, St. Louis Blues, F
Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers, F
Mikael Granlund, Minnesota Wild, F
Jussi Jokinen, Florida Panthers, F
Valtteri Filppula, Tampa Bay Lightning, F
Leo Komarov, Toronto Maple Leafs, F
Joonas Donski, San Jose Sharks, F
Lauri Korpikoski, Edmonton Oilers, F
Teuvo Teravainen, Chicago Blackhawks, F
Team Russia announced their preliminary roster this morning as well, and Valeri Nichushkin was not named as part of the team. That doesn't mean that he will not be on the roster, only that he has some work to do this spring if he wants to prove he belongs on a roster representing his home country at the World Cup of Hockey.
Other teams in the tournament will be making their preliminary roster announcements today, with the Czech Republic at 10 AM CST, Sweden at 11:30 AM CST, Europe at 3:30 PM CST, North America at 4:15 PM CST, Canada at 5:05 PM CST and USA at 5:45 PM CST. You can catch some of these announcements live on NHL network here in the U.S., or on TSN if you live in the Great White North.