Amirov, Podkolzin highlight Russia’s 2021 world junior roster

Rodion-Amirov

Rodion Amirov of Russia, centre, celebrates with teammates Daniil Chayka, left, and Egor Spiridonov after scoring during the EHT ice hockey Karjala Cup match between Czech Republic and Russia in Helsinki, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. (Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva via AP)

The Russian Ice Hockey Federation revealed its final roster for the 2021 World Junior Hockey Championships on Saturday, taking place from Dec. 25 to Jan. 6 in Edmonton.

The roster is highlighted by Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick Rodion Amirov (15th, 2020), Vancouver Canucks selection Vasily Podkolzin (10th, 2019) and Calgary Flames prospect Yan Kuznetsov (50th, 2020).

Rising goaltending star Yaroslav Askarov, the 11th pick by the Nashville Predators in October’s NHL draft, was also named to the team.

Russia will travel to Canada on December 13 and resume its preparation for the tournament once the team completes its quarantine and COVID-19 testing. Russia will play in two pre-tournament games against Slovakia on Dec. 22 and Canada on Dec. 24 before opening its round-robin schedule against the U.S. on Dec. 26.

Among the final cuts to Russia’s roster were goaltender Vadim Zherenko, defencemen Alexander Kirpichnikov and Ivan Rogov and forward Takhir Mingachyov.

“The toughest thing is always to make the big decisions upon the conclusion of the training camp, because all of the guys had worked well,” said head coach Igor Larionov in a press release.

“However, it doesn’t mean that the guys who weren’t selected are bad players. We simply don’t see them in the squad for the competition.

“We’re grateful to them for their efforts and wish them luck for the future. Of course, it was tough for them to hear this news, but life goes on. This will give them more motivation to be selected for other national team tournaments.”

Below is the full list of players who will represent Russia at this year’s event.

Forwards

Mikhail Abramov, Rodion Amirov, Daniil Bashkirov, Yegor Afanasyev, Zakhar Bardakov, Arseniy Gritsyuk, Yegor Chinakhov, Maxim Groshev, Vasily Podkolzin, Yegor Spiridonov, Marat Khusnutdinov, Vasily Ponomaryov, Ilya Safonov, Vladislav Firstov.

Defence

Roman Bychkov, Kirill Kirsanov, Yegor Shekhovtsov, Artemiy Knyazev, Yan Kuznetsov), Shakir Mukamadullin, Daniil Chayka, Semyon Chistyakov.

Goaltenders

Yaroslav Askarov, Artur Akhtyamov, Vsevolod Skotnikov.

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