Not saying I agree or disagree - merely that I'm finding this conversation somewhat informative since I know very little about the Russian junior system.
But the argument below could be equated with football (soccer) here in the USA. All but of a handful of our top players leave America to compete in Europe (although at the junior level for the most part the American soccer programs seem to be doing a nice job of producing players).
I'm not an expert on Russian Junior Hockey either. But the Football comparison has a weakness: There is no basic difference between Football in Europe and Football in America. In Hockey on the other hand, you have significant differences like the rink size and the physicality of the game. I think the usual argument against going to North America is: In Russia, you learn a passing game, proper technical skills etc, all things Russian; while in the CHL, you just learn to chase and dump and to hit and take a hit. And the schedule in the CHL is tighter, you got fewer time to practice which could hurt your long-term development.
Edit: You could also add the fact that in Europe most junior teams belong to senior teams. The junior players a club is developing today could very well be their senior players of tomorrow. A CHL franchise on the other hand is not necessarily interested in the long-term development of their players. Yakupov is not going to be a Sarnia Sting in one or two years anyway, there's no tomorrow, there's only today for a CHL franchise.
Last edited by Theokritos: 03-22-2012 at 12:43 PM.
I guess there are many reasons for allowing 22 year olds to play in juniors:
1) many teams don't have VHL farms (when MHL started a lot more didn't then today)
2) lack of good junior players
3) traditionally Russians are believed to take longer to develop physically, so extra year body-punishment free may benefit the development.