Twelve NHL prospects and 19 players eligible for the 2013 draft highlight the roster for Team Russia for the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championships, held later this month in Ufa, Russia.
The Russian team has medaled in nine of the IIHF World Junior Championships since 2002, missing the mark only in 2004 and 2010 and winning gold three times in that period, including a 2011 victory over Canada. Last year’s tournament saw Russia take the silver, while Sweden won the gold medal.
The Canadian Hockey League is represented by seven players total from its three member leagues, the Western, Quebec Major Junior and Ontario hockey leagues. Meanwhile, the Kontinental Hockey League has 12 players on the selection camp roster. Overall, 10 players from last year’s silver-medal winning team have been invited to the camp, which will be held December 7-20 in Novogorsk.
• Goaltenders: Andrey Makarov — Igor Ustinski — Andrey Vasilevskiy
Makarov is the lone WHL player on the Russian roster. His 3.03 GAA and .907 save percentage are among the top 20 in the WHL, and he holds a 13-12-0-1 record with the Saskatoon Blades this season. Ustinski is eligible for the 2013 NHL entry draft, while Vasilevskiy is a Tampa Bay Lighting prospect, having been selected 19th overall in 2012.
• Defense: Kirill Diyakov — Yaroslav Dyblenko — Pavel Koledov — Andrei Mironov — Mikhail Naumenkov — Nikita Nesterov — Artem Sergeev — Nikita Tryamkin — Alexei Vasilevskiy — Albert Yarullin — Nikita Zadorov
The blueline is composed almost entirely of 2013 draft eligible players, with just two exceptions, as Nesterov and Sergeev are both prospects of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Sergeev is the lone blueliner hailing from the QMJHL, while Zadorov is the lone OHL defenseman on the roster. Four of the remaining players are from the KHL, with the remainder coming from Russia Jr.
• Forwards: Mikhail Grigorenko — Kirill Kapustin — Alexander Khokhlachev — Yaroslav Kosov — Nikita Kucherov — Yevgeni Mozer — Valeri Nichushkin — Daniil Romantsev — Maxim Shalunov — Anton Shenfeld — Andrei Sigarev — Anton Slepyshev — Vladimir Tkachev — Bogdan Yakimov — Nail Yakupov — Daniil Zharkov — Anton Zlobin
The crop of forwards chosen to attend the selection camp almost evenly represented players already drafted by NHL teams (eight) and those that are eligible for the 2013 draft (nine).
Leading the way are two Oilers prospects, Nail Yakupov and Daniil Zharkov. Joining goaltender Makarov is fellow Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko, while Kucherov joins the Lightning defense prospects in representing that team. Khoklachev (BOS), Kosov (FLA), Shalunov (CHI) and Zlobin (PIT) round up the list, with the remainder being eligible for the draft in 2013.
The forwards represent numerous leagues, with three QMJHL players on the list (Grigorenko, Kucherov, Zlobin) and one OHLer (Zharkov). The VHL, KHL, Russia Jr. and Russia-2 are also represented.