Photo: Undersized forward Nikita Gusev is one of the top Russian trained prospects eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft. (Aaron Bell/OHL)
The 2012 NHL Entry Draft class doesn't seem to be a particularly big one for Russia, especially when considering that the top players, Mikhail Grigorenko and Nail Yakupov, left the Mother Land to play in the Canadian junior system. In the last few years more and more players have decided to cross the pond earlier, and even if it didn't pay off in all cases, the CHL is now becoming a good alternative for Russian players who opt for an early transition to North American hockey.
Photo: Goaltender Jordan Binnington had a rough post-season posting an 0-2 record and a 5.00 goals against average. (CHL Images)
Plenty of St. Louis prospects made noise during their team's respective postseason runs with several bringing home league championships. Two prospects were integral to Saint John's run toward their second consecutive QMJHL Championship while a third Quebec League prospect came out on top at the Memorial Cup. The Blues were also represented on the Swedish Elite League champion Brynas team. Several other prospects ranked among their league's top scorers during the playoffs despite falling short of the championship.
Drafted first overall by Metallurg Novokuznetsk in the 2011 KHL junior draft, forward Anton Slepyshev has established himself this season as one of the top Russian-trained skaters eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft.
Photo: Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk helped lead the Russian squad at the 2012 World Championship to a gold medal win (courtesy of
Bob Frid/Icon SMI)
Sunday was Medal Day at the 2012 World Championship, with Russia coming away with the gold medal following a 6-2 win over Slovakia at Hartwell Arena in Helsinki, Finland. Slovakia took home silver while the Czech Republic scored the bronze medal with a 3-2 win over Finland.
Hockey's Future spoke with some of the players taking part in these two games following those matches, with those interviews being presented below.
BRONZE MEDAL GAME
Czech Republic 3 vs Finland 2 Read more»
After being overlooked in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, defenseman Zakhar Arzamastsev has appeared on many NHL team radars. Especially considering that, at 19, he already played more than 100 professional games with Metallurg Novokuznetsk of the KHL, the same team which produced Flyers' goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, Caps' defenseman Dmitri Orlov, and forwad Ivan Telegin (WIN).
Hockey's Future recently caught up with Arzamastsev, who is already training after a disappointing first-round playoff exit with his MHL team Kuznetskie Medvedi.
"My season finished rather early," Arzamastsev said. "I didn't want to go to vacation already, thus I went to Moscow and started practicing with a personal coach. Now I'm trying to add some speed to my first step, we are practicing in the gym only, no ice."
Arzamastsev added that he doesn't like to spend much time without hockey in the offseason. "I think having a two-month pause is more than enough. Last year we had five months. Too much."