Vladislav Kamenev is the only Nashville Predators prospect playing at the 2016 World Junior Championship from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Helsinki, Finland.
Kamenev, a native of Orsk, Russia, will be captain of Team Russia and is expected to log a lot of minutes. The 19-year-old was a member of the silver medal-winning team that lost to Canada 5-4 in the championship last year. Kamenev had one goal and three assists in seven games.
“[Kamenev] is a rock,” Russia head coach Valeri Bragin told rsport.ru through translation. “He has experience, he felt. [And] this should have an effect in the decisive moments. Experience – this is the right play at the right time. He has not changed over the year, Kamenev was always a [creative] hockey player. Hopefully, his condition has increased.”
In 24 games with the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals, Nashville’s second round selection at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has 14 points (six goals, eight assists). Though Kamenev is playing in his first North America season, the transition has not phased him.
Forward Yakov Trenin, who the Predators selected in the second round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, was cut from Russia’s roster Tuesday. Trenin, 19, has 18 points (7g, 11a) in 25 games for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Gatineau Olympiques this year.
Goaltender Karel Vejmelka, who Nashville selected in the fifth round in 2015, was surprisingly cut by Czech Republic earlier this week. Vejmelka, 19, was expected to be on the roster but was unlikely to play substantial minutes in the Czech crease. This season, he has a 2.57 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage in 26 contests for SK Horacka Slavia Trebic of the Czech-2 league.
Kevin Fiala, 19, was not loaned to Switzerland by the Predators. Instead, Fiala will remain in the AHL, where he has 14 points (4g, 10a) in 25 games.
vs. Czech Republic on Saturday, Dec. 26 at 6 a.m. CST
vs. Finland on Monday, Dec. 28 at 10 a.m. CST
vs. Belarus on Tuesday, Dec. 29 at 8 a.m. CST
vs. Slovakia on Thursday, Dec. 31 at 6 a.m. CST
Colin Fitts is a Nashville Predators staff writer and is a credentialed media member of the Chicago Wolves. From Nashville, Tennessee, Colin majors in journalism and public relations at Columbia College Chicago. Follow him on Twitter, @FittsTHW. Email: 22fitts [at] gmail [dot] com.