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Sharks assign Mirco Mueller to Team Switzerland for World Junior Championships

Defenseman will leave San Jose for up to two weeks to compete in junior tournament in Canada.

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

In winning seven of their last eight games, the Sharks have received plenty of key contributions from a number of their young players. One who hasn't had the opportunity to contribute all that much during this recent stretch is 19-year-old rookie defenseman Mirco Mueller, a healthy scratch for five of those eight games. The acquisition of left-shooting blueliner Brenden Dillon displaced Mueller from the team's top four and given the coaching staff's preference for pairing opposite-handed defensemen, Matt Tennyson has been seeing bottom-pair duty alongside Scott Hannan of late.

So rather than have their prized teenage rookie marinate in the press box, the Sharks have elected to allow Mueller to represent his native Switzerland at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championships which run from December 26th through January 5th in Toronto and Montreal. While Mueller has played remarkably well this season for a defenseman who still retains junior eligibility, there's certainly no harm in him logging significant minutes for two weeks in a competitive environment given his inability to regularly crack the Sharks lineup.

This brings the total number of Sharks prospects currently on national team rosters for the World Juniors up to five, although further roster cuts are expected. Mueller and Noah Rod will represent Team Switzerland, 2014 first-rounder Nikolay Goldobin is on Team Russia's camp roster, Rourke Chartier is with Team Canada and Julius Bergman will play for the Swedes.