The Russian National Team finalized their roster for the 2016 World Junior Championship on Friday, making their final two cuts and putting together a roster of 23 players for the Boxing Day commencement of the tournament in Helsinki, Finland.
The Russian squad will proceed with 12 forwards and eight defensemen, following a pair of cuts on Friday.
They’ll have three players returning from their 2015 silver medal squad, including Vladislav Kamenev, Alexander Dergachyov and Flyers prospect Ivan Provorov. In addition to the final roster being set on Friday, the team announced that Kamenev will captain the team. It’s the second time Kamenev has captained a Russian team, after captaining their U-18 team two years back.
Russia’s final roster decisions came right down to the last minute. On Friday they announced that the last two cuts would be New York Rangers prospect Sergei Zborovski of the WHL’s Regina Pats and Dallas Stars prospect Denis Gurianov of the KHL’s Lada Togliatti.
Gurianov was a bit of a surprise. The Stars grabbed him in the 1st round of the 2015 draft (12th overall) and while his KHL season hasn’t been outstanding, he’s a young player with a ton of talent, including great speed and hands.
His cut has a lot to do with a lack of discipline in an exhibition game the day before the final cuts came down. He was given a five-minute major for what sounds like an ugly slash. Video has not made its way online of the infraction.
Gurianov talked to the Russian sports site rsports.ru about the incident, saying (in a crude translation through Google Translate):
I do not know what came over me in the match against the Danes, but will make every effort to continue to control themselves in any game episode, no matter how provoked [by opponents]… I want to apologize to head coach, he’s to the last count on me, although I’m a year younger than most of the guys. He gave me a chance, and I failed him.
He went on to say that he hopes he gets a chance next year and that playing for Russia in the tournament is something he’s dreamed of since his youth.
Prior to those two cuts on Friday, the team had trimmed four from the roster, including defenseman Nikita Lyamkin and forwards Arkhip Nekolenko, Yakov Trenin and Artyom Zhelezkov.
Russia plays in the tournament’s first game, facing off against the Czech Republic at 7AM Eastern Time on December 26.