Could Pechkurskiy or Zhelobynuk crack the third netminder spot ?
How about Berdyukov on the defence ?
All of these offensive defenceman Kulikov, Orlov and Zubarev for example are good that way .
Some of the people here whom know far more about them could you help me out. Can they also develop a strong defensive component to their game ?
Or are they already strong defensively ?
Can we see perhaps not in 2014 but by 2018 a new defensive corps that can compete with the best of them and take the pressure off the offence ?
Could one of the u17 like Khokhlachev or other kid like Avtsin be a surprise call up if they keep developing ?
I'm not comparing them certainly Avtsin to Ovechkin who made the 2006 team but in age terms if they do keep going as they are.
All of that is possible. It'll depend on development of the young players.
The situation for Russia isn't as dire as people make it out to be. The star players are still young and there are several talented players with ability to be good 2-way players.
Among young forwards there are actually several whose defensive games are ahead of their offensive games (Kulemin, Anisimov, Zharkov, Tikhonov, Grachev, etc). If these guys develop offensively, Russia will have good 2-way players on their hands.
Among young blueliners, the situation isn't great, but I don't think it's horrible either. It's true that Canada, USA and Sweden all have better young defensemen then Russia, but it's not like Russia is completely barren of talent here. There are several talented young puck-moving blueliners. Goncharov, Voynov, Alexandrov, Zubarev and Orlov are my favorite Russian defensive prospects. All of them still need to improve in several aspects of their games, but the talent is definitely there. Vishnevskiy is another guy, although he seems more like a PP specialist to me, Russia has PLENTY of those.
Among the defensive-minded blueliners, Russia doesn't have many, but there are some. I like Vitaly Anikienko. He has been developing well. Yemelin, Buravchikov, Bodrov, Vorobiev, Valentenko, Lyamin, Klementyev and Megalinskiy are physical stay-at-home defensemen that might have a role on Russian NT in the future. All of those guys still need work though.
Another guy to keep an eye on is Nikita Nikitin. He's a young blueliner with size and skill.
Among undrafted, you've mentioned Berdyukov, talented but not polished prospect. Zaytsev and Marchenko are 2 talented d-men, both need work on their defensive awareness. I like 2 over-agers Chudinov and Kostromitin. Chudinov especially, I don't understand why he got passed over. Imo, he's a better prospect then most that I've mentioned in this thread.
it is really hard to tell now, one of the reasons, that MHL is very young and the league's level is quite low. Players that do well there, can't translate their game to KHL. I would mention a 20 year old from CSKA who got recently and unfortunetly traded to Lada (may be he'll come back) - Repin, he was a captain of CSKA's MHL team and has scored in two consecutive games for Lada playing a lot of minutes - he will be about 24 in 2014!
Basically, a balanced three lines combined with a 4th line that would be used very sparingly in specific tactical situations. Hopefully, at least one of the youngsters develops enough to be added to the Ovechkin-Datsyuk line. But obviously, the more that are legitimately good enough to make the team - the better. I also think it's important to move away from the four defensive pairings: there is just no need for them as far as icetime is concerned, and having both an extra defenseman and forward gives more room for tactical adjustments and forced changes on account of injury. On that note, to maximize the ability to juggle lines - the extra forward should be a centre... Malkin or Grigorenko can be moved to the wing (with the extra centre taking their spot) should a winger need to be replaced/benched/etc.