It looks as if Germany will head to the World Junior Championship without two of their top players.
With the tournament fast approaching, German head coach Tobias Abstreiter officially announced the 27-player roster that will compete at the world juniors later this month, with two notable absentees among the forwards: John-Jason Peterka and Lukas Reichel.
Leaving arguably the nation's two top forwards off of the World Juniors roster would be headline news in any year. But the 2021 tournament is of particular importance for Germany, with the nation facing the threat of relegation from the top international division.
Now, their fight to stay in the top division becomes even more difficult.
This decision did not come out of the blue, however. In fact, it was a collaborative effort.
Peterka, a 2019 second-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres, and Reichel, a 2020 first-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks, are both currently in the midst of their first professional seasons in North America with the AHL affiliates of their respective teams.
According to a report from German outlet EIS Hockey News, Germany consulted with both players prior to finalizing their roster and determined that allowing them to continue their seasons in the AHL was the best decision for their development.
It's a rare example of a national program prioritizing the future success of its players over its own desire to win.
Peterka currently has 18 points in 17 games with the Rochester Americans, while Reichel has 12 points in 15 games with the Rockford Ice Hogs.