Earlier this week we learned that two Colorado Avalanche prospects will be representing their countries at the 2019 World Juniors in Vancouver. Sampo Ranta and Martin Kaut were named to teams Finland and Czech Republic respectively, while Shane Bowers was invited to Canada’s selection camp.
This morning, the Russian Hockey Federation released the roster for their own selection camp and there are two more Avalanche prospects on the list.
Forward Nikolai Kovalenko is likely to be one of the key figures for Russia at the tournament while and defender Danila Zhuravlyov has an opportunity to play his way onto team.
Here is a look at the complete list:
Kovalenko - the 171st selection in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft - has spent the season as the youngest player on Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. His four goals in 23 games are the second most by any U20 player in the KHL this season. He is an incredibly skilled playmaker that only fell so far in the draft because of a fear that he wouldn’t want to leave the KHL. The fact that he was at Colorado’s development camp this summer is a good sign that the NHL is a legitimate long-term option for the right winger.
Nikolai Kovalenko has been all over the offensive zone for Russia and his rebound goal makes it 1-0. He's been fast and in the right position on many plays today. #NHLDraft #BlackSeaCup #2018NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/lPsSgLXQHN— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisNHL) May 26, 2018
Not only is Kovalenko expected to be on the team, he will likely be a focal point of the team’s top-6 along with Vitali Kravtsov and Klim Kostin. That said, Team Russia often makes some ‘questionable’ roster selections. Kovalenko should be a lock, but he wasn’t a part of the team Russia brought over for the CHL Challenge so we’ll have to wait and see if he makes the team.
The other Avalanche prospect that will be at Russia’s camp is 2018 fifth round selection Danila Zhuravlyov. At 18, Zhuravlyov is more of a long shot to make the team, but he has a long history of playing internationally for Russia so that might give him a leg up on some of the defender’s he’s competing against. The left shooting defender currently has no points playing for Bars Kazan of Russia’s second-tier VHL.
Hopefully one (or both) of the youngsters make team Russia so Avs fans get a chance to watch some of the prospects they don't ordinarily get to see.