Photo: Medvescak Zagreb forward Patrick Bjorkstrand, shown here competing for Denmark at the 2013 World Championship, could be looking to follow his brother Oliver to North America after a solid 2013-14 season in the KHL (courtesy of JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
The infamous "Russian Factor" is taking its toll on the sheer number of drafted prospects playing in Russia as nowadays, the NHL franchises are scared to draft directly from Russia, causing many top prospects to decide to cross the pond earlier and play some seasons in the Canadian major junior system in order to improve their chances of being chosen at the NHL Draft.
Photo: Everett Silvertips forward and 2014 prospect Ivan Nikolishin finished the 2014 U18 World Championship fourth in scoring on Team Russia’s roster (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Russia's roster at the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship included nine players that competed in North America during the 2013-14 season. One of that North American contingent was forward Ivan Nikolishin, son of former NHL forward Andrei Nikolishin.
Photo: Owen Sound Attack defenseman and 2014 prospect Damir Sharipzyanov played for the Reaktor Nizhnekamsk club in the MHL in 2012-13 before moving to North America for the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
Although Russia suffered just one overtime loss in the preliminary round of the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship, their eight points only tied them for second with Sweden in Group A, two points behind Canada.
Photo: Team Russia forward Yevgeni Svechnikov (L), shown here competing at last year’s U18 tournament, has been the top offensive player for Russia at the 2014 U18 World Championship (courtesy of ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
The preliminary round of the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship is over and the playoff match-ups are set. Despite the odd surprise performances to start off the tournament, the teams have finished off group play in a manner conducive with most expectations coming in. Take a look at who’s up against whom in the playoffs and who you should expect to move on to the next round.
Photo: Niagara IceDogs defenseman and 2014 prospect Aleksandar Mikulovich is one of several players on Russia’s U18 roster that competed in North America during the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
After last year's disappointing results, a fourth place finish on home soil, Team Russia will present itself at the U18 World Championship with a good roster that includes many players competing in Canada's major junior leagues. The roster also features a good selection of players playing in Russia, some of them with KHL experience.