I know most hockey fans wish to see NHL hockey at some point this holiday season. However, I have some good news regarding a few Tampa Bay Lightning prospects to share as Nikita Nesterov, Artem Sergeev, Nikita Kucherov and Andrey Vasilevskiy were selected to attend Russia’s World Juniors Camp. (Source: NHL)
The camp began Dec 7 and runs through Dec 20 in Novogorsk, Russia. However, it will switch to Ufa once the actual tournament begins Dec 26. Before that occurs though all teams will need to trim their rosters.
The Lightning have at least one player representing each category, whether it be forward, defense or goaltending. Kucherov, a forward drafted by the Bolts in the second round of the 2011 Draft, had five points in 18 games with CSKA Moscow of the KHL last season. On the other hand Nesterov, a defenseman, boasts a plus-4 rating in 25 games with Traktor Chelyabinsk also of the KHL. Meanwhile the goaltender Vasilevskiy already has tournament experience this season, playing in the Super Series not long ago.
Other notable names attending this camp are Nail Yakupov, 2012′s No. 1 overall pick by the Edmonton Oilers, and Mikhail Grigorenko who was chosen 12th overall by the Buffalo Sabres. All six were also part of last year’s silver medal winning squad. (Source: NHL)
Personally, I believe all the Lightning prospects selected have a good chance to make the Russian team. However, Vasilevskiy should definitely make it barring something unprecedented happening. This is because Vasilevskiy won four of five games for the Russians during last year’s tourney and had a couple good performances during the Super Series just about a month ago.
Regardless, this will be a good chance for these players to prove themselves to the Lightning. I just hope we get to see them play at the NHL level at some point in the future!