Player Rankings: Top 25 Russian Players in the World

The upcoming Winter Olympics will be in Sochi, Russia, and like 2010, there will be a ton of pressure on the host nation to bring home many gold medals. Ice hockey will be no exception. The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) made huge gains over the summer in preparation of the Olympics by acquiring Ilya Kovalchuk, Sergei Kostitsyn, and Nik Antropov from North America after tweaking their salary cap structure. This added hype has made Team Russia one of the favorites to win the tournament. Here is a look at some of the top 25 Russian hockey players in the world:

  1. Alexander Ovechkin- The reigning NHL MVP is taking his superstardom to new heights. He will lead a great Russian offence in Sochi.
  2. Evgeni Malkin- The two-time Art Ross winner is another Russian superstar forward in his mid-20s.
  3. Pavel Datsyuk- He is a leader, a two-way player, and a top-notch scorer. He is a huge reason why the Detroit Red Wings have enjoyed success the past couple seasons.
  4. Ilya Kovalchuk- The fifth-highest-scoring Russian in NHL history will look to smash records in the KHL this upsoming season.
  5. Alexander Radulov- There have been issues with his work ethics in the past, but there is no doubt the KHL star is one of the most skilled forwards in the league.
  6. Alexander Semin- Semin is very skilled and talented. He cracked more than a point a game in multiple seasons.
  7. Sergei Bobrovsky- The reigning Vezina Trophy winner needs to show that he is the real deal in a full-length NHL season.
  8. Evgeny Kuznetsov- He is only 21 and is emerging as a likeable superstar. He is one of the best players in the KHL and has put up great numbers.
  9. Andrei Markov- The veteran defenceman is a reliable threat on the Montreal Canadiens blueline.
  10. Slava Voynov- A rising star whose offensive production is definitely above average for a young 23-year-old.
  11. Sergei Mozyakin- The 32-year-old had a monster offensive season in the KHL, scoring 76 points in 48 games. He is underrated and very skilled.
  12. Nail Yakupov- The former first overall pick put up respectable numbers with the Edmonton Oilers last season.
  13. Vladimir Tarasenko- Another young, explosive Russian forward who has adjusted to North American hockey.
  14. Viktor Tikhonov- His time in the NHL did not go so well, but his KHL career so far has been sensational.
  15. Sergei Gonchar- Despite being 39, Gonchar is still a top-four defenceman in the NHL.
  16. Nikita Nikitin- The rising defenceman is a threat on the Columbus Blue Jackets’ blueline.
  17. Nikolai Kulemin- He may struggle to find top-six forward minutes this season, but Kulemin has shown that he can do some tough bottom-six work too in his career.
  18. Semyon Varlamov- He has yet to show his true potential as a star NHL goaltender.
  19. Nikolai Zherdev- The once highly-touted young forward is now a top scorer in the KHL.
  20. Alexei Emelin- The big-hitting defenceman is a force on the Habs’ blueline.
  21. Artem Anisimov- The 25-year-old has shown he can score, but needs to be a little more consistent.
  22. Evgeni Nabokov- The veteran is winding down a very successful career as an NHL backstopper.
  23. Anton Volchenkov- The defensive defenceman can block shots and hit.
  24. Alexander Frolov- After a successful 8-year NHL career as a forward, he took his talents to the KHL.
  25. Aleksey Morozov- The veteran forward has done it all in the NHL, KHL, and the international stage, and is still going.

Tags: Ale Morozov Alex Frolov Alex Ovechkin Alex Semin Alexander Frolov Alexander Radulov Alexander Semin Andrei Markov Anton Volchenkov Artem Anisimov Evgeni Malkin Evgeni Nabokov Evgeny Kuznetsov Ilya Kovalchuk KHL Morozov Nikita Nikitin Nikolai Kulemin Nikolai Zherdev Olympics Pavel Datsyuk Russia Russia Hockey Semyon Varlamov Sergei Bobrovsky Sergei Gonchar Sergei Mozyakin Slava Voynov Sochi Viktor Tikhonov Vladimir Tarasenko

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