The 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship is scheduled for Dec. 25-Jan. 5 at Rogers Place in Edmonton. To celebrate the tournament, which was first contested in 1974, NHL.com has compiled an all-time starting lineup for some of the participating countries based solely on the players’ performances at the World Juniors. Today, we look at the ideal three forwards, two defensemen and goalie to start a game for Russia.
Tournaments: 1989, 1990, 1991
Statistics: 21 games, 27-12-39
Bure’s 12 goals at the 1991 WJC are tied with Vladimir Ruzicka of Czechoslovakia (1983) for the second-most in one tournament, behind Markus Naslund of Sweden (13, 1993). Bure tied Jeremy Roenick of the United States for the World Juniors lead with eight goals in 1989, was named the tournament’s best forward and helped the Soviet Union win the championship. Bure is the all-time leader in goals at the World Juniors and is third in points. He also helped the Soviet Union finish second to Canada in 1990 and 1991. Bure played 12 NHL seasons with three teams.
Tournaments: 1987, 1988, 1989
Statistics: 20 games, 18-17-35
Mogilny was named the best forward at the 1988 WJC after he led the tournament in assists (10) and points (18), was second in goals (eight) and helped the Soviet Union finish second. He scored 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in seven games to help the Soviet Union win the 1989 WJC. Mogilny played 16 NHL seasons with four teams.
Tournaments: 2003, 2004, 2005
Statistics: 18 games, 18-7-25
Ovechkin is tied for the fourth-most goals in WJC history, including a tournament-high seven in 2005 when he was named the best forward and helped Russia finish second. He also led the WJC with six goals in 2003 when Russia finished first. The left wing will play for the Washington Capitals this season, his 16th in the NHL.
Evgeny Kuznetsov : 20 games (2010, 2011, 2012), 12-14-26; Evgeni Malkin :18 games (2004, 2005, 2006), 8-17-25; Vladimir Krutov: 11 games (1979, 1980), 15-10-25
Tournaments: 1976, 1977, 1978
Statistics: 18 games, 6-9-15
Fetisov is the only player to be named best defenseman at the WJC twice, in 1977 and 1978, and helped the Soviet Union win the tournament all three years he played. He’s the Russia/Soviet Union leader in points among defensemen at the World Juniors. Fetisov played nine NHL seasons with two teams.
Tournaments: 2019, 2020
Statistics: 14 games, 2-12-14
Romanov was named best defenseman at the 2019 WJC after he led the tournament with a plus-12 rating and led defensemen with eight points (one goal, seven assists) in seven games to help Russia finish third. He made the 2020 tournament all-star team after he scored six points (one goal, five assists) in seven games and helped Russia finish second. His 14 points are second to Fetisov among Russia/Soviet Union defensemen in the WJC. Romanov is expected to make his NHL debut with the Montreal Canadiens this season.
Mikhail Tatarinov: 19 games (1984, 1985, 1986), 4-9-13; Dmitry Orlov : 13 games (2010, 2011), 1-12-13
Tournaments: 1984, 1985, 1986
Statistics: 18 games, 14-2, 2.30 GAA
Belosheikin is the winningest goalie in World Juniors history. In 1986 he went 5-0 with a 1.60 goals-against average, was named the tournament’s best goalie and helped the Soviet Union win the championship. He also helped the Soviet Union win the WJC in 1984 and finish third in 1985. Belosheikin was selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the 11th round (No. 232) of the 1991 NHL Draft but never played in the League.
Andrei Vasilevskiy : 15 games (2012, 2013, 2014), 10-4, 1.88 GAA, .946 save percentage