Leon Draisaitl is to announce this week whether he will play at the world ice hockey championship. Germany coach Toni Söderholm hopes he and number of other NHLers will strengthen his team for next month's tournament.
Leon Draisaitl was quoted in this Monday's edition of the Welt newspaper as saying that he hadn't yet made a firm decision on whether he would play for Germany at the world championship, although it sounded like he may be leaning towards answering the call.
"I want to talk with my family about it first," the 23-year-old Draisaitl said. "It's always very special to wear the German jersey, to play for the German national team," he added, noting that he would announce his decision by the end of the week.
Draisaitl is coming off his third full season with the Edmonton Oilers and it was by far his best, having scored 50 goals and 105 points – something very few National Hockey League players ever achieve. His 50th came in Edmonton's last game of the season in Calgary on Saturday, and made him the first Oiler to hit the mark in more than three decades.
Even if Draisaitl elects not to go to this year's worlds, to be held from May 10-26 in Slovakia, Germany coach Toni Söderholm should be able to count on at least some reinforcements from the world's best league. Media reports suggest that Dominik Kahun, who is coming off a strong rookie season with the Chicago Blackhawks will feature. Korbinian Holzer of the Anaheim Ducks has also declared that he will be available, while the situation regarding the Oiler's Tobias Rieder is not clear. Niko Sturm, who played his first two games for the Minnesota Wild over the past week, could also be a candidate.
Thomas Greiss and Tom Kühnhackl of the New York Islanders and Philipp Grubauer of the Colorado Avalanche could also become available later, depending on how their teams do in the Stanley Cup playoffs.