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Blue Jackets at the World Championships

May 11, 2018, 1:26 PM ET [2 Comments]
Paul Berthelot
Columbus Blue Jackets Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Blue Jackets have a host of players at the World Championship and they are having success. The USA, Canada and Finland are the top three teams in the group.

Cam Atkinson is second on Team USA in scoring with five points in four games. Atkinson has been clutch for the USA, scoring the shootout winner against Canada and scoring the overtime winner against Latvia.

The goal against Latvia was scored against Blue Jackets prospect Elvis Merzlikins. Merzlikins has had a strong tournament posting a .922 save percentage, backstopping Latvia to two wins, and that overtime loss to the US. Merzlikins made 30 saves in that game against the US, showing he can hold his own against NHL players. You never know what you have until you can bring the player to North America but Merzlikins’ play has warranted a shot. At worst he’s a better goalie than Matiss Kivlenieks, who played a ton in the AHL, and has set to see game action for Latvia.

Others having success include Pierre-Luc Dubois. He like Atkinson has five points in four games.

Playing the best out of all the Jackets players has to be Markus Nutivaara. He’s currently leading all defencemen in scoring with five points in four games.

He’s been really good and just building on what was a very good season for him.
Oliver Bjorkstrand has a goal and an assist in five games. Ryan Murray has an assist in four games. Dean Kukan has no points in four games for the Swiss. Sonny Milano can’t seem to escape the fourth line even on Team USA. He also has no points in four games.

As far as prospects go Vladislav Gavrikov is doing what he does. Eating up minutes and not providing much of any offense. He has no points in four games. Russia however is second in their group. France isn’t having a great tournament but Alexandre Texier just had an incredible game against Austria. He had three primary assists and they were real nice.

Texier is still likely at least a year away from coming over to North America and will need some AHL seasoning when he does make the jump. With performances like this you can see why he's a top prospect in the organization. He has elite level skill.

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