The Euro Hockey Tour is set to return for its first stage when the best European national teams clash at the annual Karjala Cup in Finland. The KHL is represented by 24 representatives from 11 different clubs. But let’s see them in greater detail.
Head coach Filip Pesan, at his debut with the Czech national team, picked only four KHL representatives for the first stage of the 2020-2021 Euro Hockey Tour. The Zohorna brothers are a fixture for the Czechs, and they are expected to provide offense and energy in the lineup. Offensive abilities and hardworking also gave Nestrasil a chance to impact the international stage for the Czechs — the Magnitogorsk forward already represented the Czech Republic at the 2018 WC, and he seems to be in great shape this season. Defenseman Jakub Jerabek skated at two WCs for the Czechs, and will anchor the blueline in Finland. The Czech roster will also feature former KHLers like Vojtech Mozik and Rudolf Cerveny.
The Russian Federation decided to use the Karjala Cup as a chance for Igor Larionov as a preparation stage before the WJC. Accordingly, the roster is entirely made up of U20 players. Most of them have already played at the KHL level. Vasily Podkolzin will captain the Russian side at the Karjala Cup, and he already scored 4 (1+3) points this year with SKA. Naturally, the most productive player in the team at the KHL level is Yegor Chinakhov. The Omsk native was named Rookie of the Month for both September and October, and has amassed 13 (7+6) points with Avangard this season. Ufa’s Rodion Amirov and Shakir Mukhamadullin are also full-time players in the senior squad. Amirov scored 8 (4+4) points, while Mukhamadullin had 7 (2+5) from the blue line for Salavat Yulaev. Maxim Groshev, who just moved from Neftekhimik to SKA, has already skated at last year’s WJC — he is expected to take on a leading position this year. On goal, Yaroslav Askarov will be the starter. He played four games for SKA this season, and has already a shutout under his belt.
Both Nordic countries decided to ice a team made up of players from the respective domestic leagues. The Leijonat will feature in its lineup former KHL players Jere Sallinen, Jukka Peltola, and Ahti Oksanen, while the Swedish side didn’t call up any player with former KHL experience.
The 2018 Karjala Cup starts on November 5 at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland. The four teams will compete on a three-game round-robin through Sunday, November 8.