All World Cup of Hockey teams are required to announce the first 16 players of their roster, including two goaltenders, on Mar. 2. Here’s the first 16 players of the Team Russia World Cup roster.
As was noted in the Team Russia World Cup roster projection, the team’s Achille’s heel will be the blue line. That’s immediately apparent in the positional division of the Russian announcement.
They’ve announced all three goaltending spots, 10 of 13 forward spots and just three defenseman.
Notable here is that every player on the roster is a NHLer. They didn’t have a KHLer among the announcement, which means that Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Radulov were not a part of the first announcement, despite almost every forward position having been spoken for.
Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets
Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning
Dmitry Kulikov, Florida Panthers
Andrei Markov, Montreal Canadiens
Dmitry Orlov, Washington Capitals
Artem Anisimov, Chicago Blackhawks
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
Nikolay Kulemin, New York Islanders
Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Vladislav Namestnikov, Tampa Bay Lightning
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Artemi Panarin, Chicago Blackhawks
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues
It was already known that Radulov and Kovalchuk wouldn’t be here. The governing body announced earlier that they planned on the first announcement being entirely comprised of NHLers. They’ll almost certainly have to dip into the KHL pool to round out the defensive group, but the omission of the KHL’s superstars remains very notable.
Both have been key players for the national team for years. Kovalchuk is a little less surprising with scouts saying that his game wasn’t quite there this year, as well as the whole ordeal with his team removing his captaincy in the playoffs and going on a run after they benched him.
Namestnikov will grab his first appearance for the national team with his inclusion here. It’s surprising that both he and Kulemin have found their way onto the roster while Radulov and Kovalchuk aren’t here.
As noted above, defense. It should be a concern that Kulikov, Markov and Orlov — three solid defensemen — are the three best defensemen that they can muster. There isn’t a number one defenseman available to the Russian National Team.
This is easy. It’s scoring at the top of the lineup. Ovechkin, Malkin, Kuznetsov, Tarasenko, Datsyuk, Kucherov and Panarin is a terrifying forward group. If Russia is able to make a big impact at the World Cup, it’ll be on the back of dynamic scoring and an ability to outgun the opposition.
More World Cup Roster Announcements:
Team Canada Roster Announcement
Team Czech Republic World Cup Roster Announcement
Team Europe World Cup Roster Announcement
Team Finland World Cup Roster Announcement
Team North America World Cup Roster Announcement
Team Sweden World Cup Roster Announcement
Team USA World Cup Roster Announcement
Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.