The 2016 World Cup of Hockey won't take place until September, but the initial rosters will be announced throughout the day. The European countries will be releasing their rosters this morning, and we now know that there will be at least one representative of the Buffalo Sabres playing in the tournament.
Rasmus Ristolainen was selected by Finland as one of the 16 players on their initial roster. He joins a strong Finnish back end featuring Sami Vatinen and Olli Maata as well as goaltenders Pekka Rinne and Tukka Rask.
It's a nice honor for Risto, who has plenty of experience playing for his home country and scoring Golden Goals in the World Junior tournament. The 21-year old has 8 goals and 27 assists this season, and is one of two players (along with Jack Eichel) to play in all 64 games for the Sabres this season.
Finland is playing in Group B in the tournament, along with Russia, Finland, Sweden and Team North America (AKA the Young Guns team as all players must be under 23.) The 16 players named to their initial roster are below.
Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
Esa Lindell, Texas Stars (AHL)
Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh Penguins
Rasmus Ristolainen, Buffalo Sabres
Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks
Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers
Joonas Donskoi, San Jose Sharks
Valtteri Filppula, Tampa Bay Lightning
Mikael Granlund, Minnesota Wild
Jussi Jokinen, Florida Panthers
Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild
Leo Komarov, Toronto Maple Leafs
Lauri Korpikoski, Edmonton Oilers
Jori Lehtera, St. Louis Blues
Teuvo Teravainen, Chicago Blackhawks