Initial reports out of the Czech Republic that indicated center Tomas Hertl and defenseman Radko Gudas will miss the World Cup of Hockey with injuries have been confirmed by NHL.com.
Hertl is still recovering from a knee injury suffered during the Stanley Cup Final and Gudas has a wrist injury. According to reports, defenseman Tomas Kundratek and winger Michal Birner have been added to the Czech roster as replacements.
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) September 4, 2016
Birner, 30, was a St. Louis Blues fourth-round draft pick in 2004 and has spent the past eight seasons in Europe. He’s currently playing for Traktor Chelyabinsk in the KHL.
Kundratek, 26, was a New York Rangers third-round draft pick in 2008 and spent five pro seasons in North America (2010-15), suiting up in 30 NHL games with the Washington Capitals. He has spent the past two seasons in the KHL and currently plays for HC Slovan Bratislava.
According to Roman Jedlicka of TV NOVA Sport in the Czech Republic, Czech GM Martin Rucinsky tried to reached out to Dallas Stars winger Jiri Hudler about joining the team, but Hudler didn’t answer messages before his agent confirmed Hudler had no interest.
Czech GM Martin Rucinsky: “Hudler didnt answer phone calls & messages. His agent Petr Svoboda then told us Jiri didnt have interest to go.”
— Roman Jedlicka (@jedli) September 4, 2016
Hertl and Gudas are two big losses for a Czech team that had already lost one of its leaders in David Krejci. Krejci bowed out on Friday as he continues to recover from off-season hip surgery. He was replaced on the Czech roster by center Roman Cervenka.
The 22-year-old Hertl is coming off his first 20-goal NHL season in 2015-16, during which he amassed 46 points (21 goals, 25 assists) in 81 games. He has 102 points (49 goals, 53 assists) in 200 career NHL regular season games for the San Jose Sharks.
The 26-year-old Gudas, a bruising defender, had 14 points (five goals, nine assists) along with 116 penalty minutes in 76 games in 2015-16. In 202 career NHL regular season games with the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning, Gudas has recorded 46 points (12 goals, 34 assists) and 340 penalty minutes.
The 2016 World Cup of Hockey gets underway Sept. 17 in Toronto.