It was probably the summer of SKA St. Petersburg, who signed two solid NHL players in Evgeny Nabokov and Maxim Afinogenov, to long-term contracts. They also lured back home defenseman Denis Grebeshkov. Spartak replied to the Nabokov’s signing ensuring the services of Dominik Hasek. Despite his age, the Dominator is still in good shape. Other interesting signings are the return of Alexander Perezhogin to Avangard, the signing of Brock Trotter by Dinamo Riga and Ak Bars’ acquisition of Marcel Hossa, who built for himself a very solid European career after his attempt to secure an NHL spot with the Canadiens and the Rangers. On the other hand many young players moved from Russia to America, and this includes not only established prospects like Alexander Avtsin (MTL), but also some 2011 eligible like Alexander Khokhlachev.
After the problems of HC Lev from Slovakia in joining the league, the KHL will have 23 teams for the 2010-11 season. One of the highlights of the season in this aspect was the merging of HC MVD, last season’s runner-ups, and the historical team Dynamo Moscow.
Below is a team-by-team breakdown and analysis of the different prospects:
In spite of the recent lack of success with the different national teams, Russia keeps on producing good players and the 2010 class looks like a particularly good one after the disappointment of 2009 when only seven Russian prospects were drafted. The 2010 class looks good for Russia also as far as the quality of the those already overseas, like Kirill Kabanov, Stanislav Galiev and Ivan Telegin.
Top 10 at a glance
After the two straight bronze medals in 2008 and 2009, Team Russia will try to climb up the standings in Saskatchewan, presenting a very young team. Vladimir Plyuschev, who is back with U-20 Team Russia after the WJC triumph in 2002, decided to rely a lot on 1991-born guys, the same players who made the core of the Under-18 national team he coached in the U18 WC in the United States this April. Another reason for the youth is that Team Russia will lack some key players: center Andrei Loktionov (LA) is injured, while Evgeny Grachev (NYR), Vyacheslav Voinov (LA) and Dmitry Kulikov (FLA) weren’t released by their respective NHL franchises.
Russia’s only exhibition game hasn’t been good as they lost 3-2 to Latvia after an overtime.
After Semyon Varlamov’s move to the NHL, Team Russia’s goaltending hasn’t been as good and reliable. In last season’s tournament, projected starter Daniil Alistratov lost the job after an awful performance against Team Sweden in favor of Read more»
After the first-ever KHL season ended with the Ak Bars Kazan’s triumph, a new season is going to kick off soon in Russia. Once again it has been a busy summer as many movements have been controversially in place from Russia to America (Kirill Kabanov) or the other way around (Jiri Hudler). The movement from the RSL of old to the new KHL has definitely been a good step forward for hockey not only in Russia, but also for the post-soviet countries who have teams in the league. The good performances by Latvia and Belarus in the last WC and Kazakhstan’s promotion to the elite level are examples of this.
The KHL will be once again have 24 teams, with Avtomobilist Ekaterinburg instead of Khimik Voskresensk, out for financial reasons. Lada Togliatti and Vityaz Chekhov have been in danger as well, but they found last-minute sponsors who allowed them to ice a team this season. Differently from the last season, the league has been split into Eastern and Western Conference and thus the divisions have a geographical alignment.
Below is a team-by-team breakdown analyzing the different prospects’ chances.
Despite icing a roster that didn’t blow anyone away, Team Russia finished the U18 World Championships with a silver medal, losing to Team USA in the final.
“In general, only a few people believed that we would reach the finals," said the tournament’s All-Star Team forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who was arguably Russia‘s top player and one of the best overall in the tournament. "They said that Russia could reach only fifth or sixth place. But I think that we proved that we are a good team. We gave a good reply to all those who didn’t believe in us. Yes, we were tired by the final match, but we have an united team with no separations like first, second-class players.”
If the Russians clinched the second silver medal in a row after last year’s on home soil, it means the players on the roster played with good focus and good motivation given by coach Vladimir Plyuschev.