Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Erik Gustafsson will represent Team Sweden at the 2016 World Championships, the Swedish Ice Hockey Association announced with its preliminary roster Saturday. The tournament will take place from May 6 through May 22 in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia.
Gustafsson, 24, has never represented Sweden in international competition. He had no goals and 14 assists in 41 games in his first pro season in Chicago. The 6-foot, 176-pound blue liner added one assist in five playoff games. He had three goals and 11 assists in 27 games with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL prior to his call up in December.
The Hawks signed him to an entry-level deal in April 2015 after he played two seasons with Frölunda of the Swedish Hockey League, where he tallied 29 points (four goals and 25 assists) in 55 games in his final season.
Hawks' prospect Gustav Forsling did not make the preliminary roster, but he still could make the team as there is one defensive spot still unclaimed. As previously noted, he'll most likely be an on call option in case a player gets injured. The 19-year-old had two goals and an assist in six games for Sweden at this year's World Junior Championships, where the Three Crowns fell to the United States in the bronze-medal game.
Chicago acquired Forsling from the Vancouver Canucks in exchanged for defenseman Adam Clendening in January 2015. He tallied six goals and 15 assists in 21 games for Linköping HC in the SHL last season. He added a goal and two assists in six playoff games.
Gustafsson is the fourth Blackhawk named to a tournament squad, joining Vincent Hinostroza and Tyler Motte (United States) and Artemi Panarin (Russia).