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Panthers’ Mike Matheson added to Team Canada for IIHF Worlds

Florida Panthers rookie defenseman Mike Matheson has been added to Team Canada for the upcoming IIHF World Championship, which starts Friday, May 6, in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

In addition to Matheson, Canada, the defending tournament champs, has a defense corps that includes Toronto’s Morgan Rielly, Ottawa’s Cody Ceci, a pair of Vancouver Canucks in Christopher Tanev and Ben Hutton, Columbus’ Ryan Murray and Minnesota’s Matt Dumba.

Matheson is the most inexperienced of the bunch, so look for him to fill the seventh defenseman role and provide depth. This will be his first taste of international play at the senior level.

The former Boston College Golden Eagles standout played in 54 regular season games for the AHL’s Portland Pirates (8G/12A) before a late recall, his second of the season, put him on Florida’s roster for playoffs.

After sitting out Game 1 against the New York Islanders, Matheson played in the final five tilts of the series, collecting one assist to go along with a +1 rating, impressing mightily in the process, despite having just three NHL regular season appearances under his belt.

When the Panthers were eliminated, the 22-year-old returned to Portland to help the Pirates in their first round playoff series against the Hershey Bears, who prevailed in a Game 5 squeaker.

Matheson registered an assist and 10 shots on goal in his three playoff games with Portland.

Canada will take on the United States to open play in Group B on Friday. Florida forwards Aleksander Barkov and Jussi Jokinen are playing for Team Finland. Finland and Canada will meet on May 17 in the final group stage match for both teams.