SAN JOSE - Four San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) prospects - Rufolfs Balcers, Manuel Wiederer, Radim Simek and Noah Rod - have been selected to represent their native countries at the 2018 IIHF World Championships. The tournament will be held in Copenhagen and Herning, Denmark from May 4-20.
"We're excited that Rudolfs, Manuel, Noah and Radim have been invited to represent their countries at the 2018 World Championships," said Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson. "The experience they receive from playing in this tournament will bolster their career growth, following each of their very successful seasons and a Calder Cup Playoff run with the Barracuda. Much like Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc, Marcus Sorenson, Joakim Ryan and Barclay Goodrow, we expect these high-level experiences to play an important role in their development at the professional level."
Balcers will represent Latvia, Wiederer will skate for Germany, Simek for Czech Republic, and Rod with Switzerland. Each spent time with the San Jose Barracuda (@SJBarracuda), the Sharks American Hockey League (@TheAHL) affiliate this past season.
Balcers (@RudolfsBalcers), 20, finished his first pro season ranked seventh in points (48) among AHL freshman, tied for fifth in goals (23), and T-14th in assists (25). The native of Liepaja, Latvia, paced the Barracuda in points, goals, points-per-game (.72), and power-play goals (8) in 2017-18. The winger has represented Latvia on numerous occasions, including helping his native country win gold medals at the D1A World Championships in 2013-14 (U18) and 2015-16 (U20)
The five-foot-11, 175-pounder was originally drafted by San Jose in the fifth round (142nd overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft.
Wiederer (@wieds21), 21, skated in 52 games for the Barracuda this past season, ranking fourth among San Jose rookies in scoring (nine goals, seven assists), third in goals, and tied for first in shorthanded goals (1). In 2016-17, Wiederer spent time with both Moncton and Rouyn-Noranda of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), and recorded 53 points (29 goals, 24 assists) and 29 penalty minutes in his second season in the QMJHL. Wiederer has represented his country of Germany on several occasions, including the 2016 D1A World Jr. Championships, 2015 World Jr. Championships and the 2014 U-18 World Championships.
The six-foot-one, 175-pound native of Deffendorf, Germany, was selected by San Jose in the fifth round (150th overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft.
Simek, 25, recorded 27 points (seven goals, 20 assists) and a plus-six rating in 67 games during the 2017-18 season with the Barracuda. He ranked second among Barracuda defensemen in points, goals, and assists, while his plus-six rating ranked tied for third and his 128 shots on goal led all blueliners and ranked third overall.
In 211 career games in the Czech leagues, Simek collected 91 points (37 goals, 54 assists) and a plus-51 rating. Simek helped his team win the 2015-16 championship, and was named the League MVP after posting the league's best plus/minus (+13).
The five-foot-eleven, 200-pound native of Benatky nad Jizerou, Czech Republic, has represented his country at numerous international tournaments, including the last World Championships (2016-17) and recorded one goal and one assist in eight games with the Czech Republic during last year's tournament.
Rod (@Noah2718), 21, has skated in 11 regular-season games with the Barracuda over the last two seasons, collecting five points (one goal, four assists) and two penalty minutes. In addition, Rod appeared in five Calder Cup Playoff games with the Barracuda.
Rod has spent the last five seasons with Geneve-Servette of the National League (NLA), Switzerland's top professional hockey league. In 162 NLA games from 2013-18, Rod recorded 46 points (21 goals, 25 assists) and 102 penalty minutes.
He has represented his county of Switzerland in several international tournaments, including the Spengler Cup (2017-18), World Junior Championships (2016, 2015), and the World Jr. U-18 Championships (2014). Rod was World Jr. U20 teammates with Meier in 2015 and 2016.
The six-foot, 195-pound native of La-Chauz-de-Fonds, Switzerland, was selected by San Jose in the second round (53rd overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft.