The Russian U-20 team has announced a preliminary roster for upcoming World Junior Championship. The most important information for Tampa Bay Lightning fans is Alexei Lipanov who is absent even in the preliminary roster.
Alexei played only one game during Canada-Russia series in November and the coaching staff wasn’t very impressed by his game, so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that he didn’t get an invite to camp. His stats at the OHL also didn’t help him. Before this season, he was traded from the Sudbury Wolves to the Kitchener Rangers and has posted 12 points (6+6) in 22 games, which is not very impressive numbers at this level.
The biggest surprise for team Russia was Dmitri Zavgorodny, who has been left off the roster. The left winger from the QMJHL had great chemistry with Ivan Chekhovich and Alexander Khovanov, scoring 3 points including two goals in two games. The head coach of the Russian team Valeri Bragin is known for preferring older players and that was likely one of the reasons why 18 years old Dmitri Zavgorodny won’t play at the WJC.
Potential top-10 draft pick of the upcoming 2019 Entry Draft Vasili Podkolzin isn’t on the roster, but as Valeri Bragin said, he would be one of the youngest players to play at the WJC. The 17 year old forward has already played one game for SKA St. Petersburg this season in the KHL.
The list of 28 players contains mostly players from Russian leagues with only five of them playing in North America. Potential stars of this team are forwards Vitaly Kravtsov and Grigory Denisenko, who were drafted in the first round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers and the Florida Panthers respectively. Defenceman Alexander Romanov drafted by Montreal Canadiens is another potential standout. One of the players to watch is certainly Ivan Chekhovich, who is the leading goal scorer in the QMJHL with 25 goals.
The Czech National U-20 team also revealed their preliminary roster for the World Juniors. One of the Lightning’s most recent draft picks, nineteen year old defenceman Radim Salda is one of players who will be preparing for the WJC at the training camp. Since being selected in the seventh round in last summer’s NHL draft, he has posted 12 points (4+8) in the QMJHL this season and very likely will be on the final roster.
The Czech team has clearly one of the strongest squads in recent years. Martin Necas, Martin Kaut, Filip Zadina, Ostap Safin, Jakub Lauko are among the chosen forwards. New Your Rangers forward Filip Chytil is however still questionable. He has played in the every game for the Rangers this season and it depends on if the team’s management will release him to participate with the rest of the Czech team in the World Juniors.