Usually lost in the hustle and bustle of the first month of the NHL regular season, the training camps for the upcoming 2021 World Juniors are slowly leaking out. On Friday, Russia released their camp roster with two important names.
Minnesota Wild prospects center Marat Khusnutdinov and winger Vladislav Firstov have been invited to Team Russia’s training camp prior to the winter tournament taking place in Edmonton, Alta.
Russia's World Junior camp roster of 28 players. Need to cut 3 skaters from this group. pic.twitter.com/XK78Xj94Es— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) November 20, 2020
With Khusnutdinov’s history with the national program — recently having won the Karjala Cup playing for his country — and Firstov’s age and success in North America, both should be more than penciled in to the roster.
The younger of the two, Khusnutdinov, is currently playing within the SKA St. Petersburg program, moving between the various levels of professional hockey, as one does. He has spend the most time at the junior- level MHL thus far, but has recently spent significant time in the KHL, playing in the first team. The undersized two-way center is set have a massive tournament after getting selected at 37th-overall by the Wild earlier last month.
It might be more of a reach to include Firstov, but standing at 6-foot-1 and already having two seasons of North American hockey under his belt, he should be considered for at least a depth role with the team. With 23 points in 33 games during his freshman year at University of Connecticut, the Yaroslavl native has demonstrated his ability to produce on the smaller ice.
With these two Russian forwards, Austrian forward Marco Rossi, Canadian Adam Beckman and a couple of American prospects in Marshall Warren and Matthew Boldy, the Wild might have a solid representation at this year’s event.
The 2021 World Juniors will officially start on Dec. 26 and go until the final on Jan. 5, all within a bubble surrounding Rogers Place, the home of the Edmonton Oilers.