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Top Russians lead Euros for Junior 'A' Challenge

by Adam Kimelman
Defenseman Nikita Nesterov and right wing Maxim Shalunov will lead Team Russia into the next month's World Junior 'A' Challenge.

The event, which also features teams the U.S., Switzerland, Sweden and a pair from Canada, will take place Nov. 8-14 in Penticton, B.C.

Shalunov, a 6-foot-3, 185 pound forward, is scoreless in three games with Traktor Chelyabinsk in the KHL. He's also played for Chelyabinsk's top junior team, Belye Medvedi, where he has 7 goals and 12 points in nine games.

Nesterov, a 6-foot, 183-pound defenseman, plays with Shalunov with Chelyabinsk's KHL and junior team.

Both players are considering top players to watch for the 2011 Entry Draft.

A pair of 2010 Draft picks will lead Team Sweden. Center Joakim Nordstrom, a third-round pick of the Blackhawks, and right wing Markus Sorenson, a fourth-round pick of the Senators will try to help Sweden win its first medal at the event.
Team Switzerland will be led by Gregory Hofmann, a 6-foot, 165-pound center who has 3 points in 16 games with Ambri-Piotta in Switzerland's top league, National League A. Also worth watching is defenseman Dean Kukan, a 6-1, 187-pounder with the GCK Lions in Switzerland's National League B. He had 3 points in six game for Switzerland at the 2010 World Under-18 Championship. Both players are eligible for the 2011 Entry Draft.

Sweden, Canada East and the U.S. will be in Group A, while Switzerland, Russia and Canada West will be in Group B. Round-robin will be held Nov. 8-10, with the semifinals scheduled for Nov. 13, and the gold-medal game set for Nov. 14.

The U.S. is the two-time defending champion. At last year's event, Canada West won its second-straight silver medal and Russia took home the bronze.

Contact Adam Kimelman at


GOALTENDER -- Denis Perevozchikov, Bars Kazan (2011 Draft eligible); Oleg Dyatlov, Avto Ekaterinburg (2011 Draft eligible).
DEFENSEMAN -- Gennady Sabinin, Russkie Vityazi (2012 Draft eligible); Alexei Vasilevsky, Tolpar Ufa (2011 Draft eligible); Vitaly Demakov, Belye Medvedi (2012 Draft eligible); Konstantin Vorshev, Russkie Vityazi (2011 Draft eligible); Nikita Nesterov, Belye Medvedi (2011 Draft eligible); Anton Saveliev, Bars Kazan (2011 Draft eligible); Albert Yarullin, Bars Kazan (2011 Draft eligible); Yevgeny Palenga, MHK Spartak (2011 Draft eligible).
FORWARDS -- Dmitri Mikhailov, Stalnye Lisy (2011 Draft eligible); Roman Konkov, Chaika Nizhny Novgorod (2011 Draft eligible); Anton Ivanyuzhenkov, Russkie Vityazi (2012 Draft eligible); Sergei Abramov, Molot-Prikamje (2011 Draft eligible); Alexei Shamin, Loko Yaroslavl (2011 Draft eligible); Nikita Kucherov, Krasnaya Armiya (2011 Draft eligible); Maxim Shalunov, Belye Medvedi (2011 Draft eligible); Sergei Smurov, Amurskie Tigry (2011 Draft eligible); Mikhail Grigorenko, Krasnaya Armiya (2012 Draft eligible); Alexander Petrov, Russkie Vityazi (2012 Draft eligible); Vladimir Tkachev, Bars Kazan (2012 Draft eligible); Alexei Shubin, Loko Yaroslavl (2012 Draft eligible).


GOALTENDER -- Tim Harrysson, Linköping HC30 (2011 Draft eligible); Jonas Gunnarsson, HV 71 (2011 Draft eligible).
DEFENSEMEN -- Linus Hultstrom, Linköping HC3 (2011 Draft eligible); Eddie Larsson, MODO Hockey (2011 Draft eligible); Rasmus Edstrom, Skelleftea AIK (2011 Draft eligible); Linus Rotbakken, Brynäs IF6 (2011 Draft eligible); Viktor Ronnback, Lulea HF (2011 Draft eligible); Joakim Ryan, Dubuque, USHL (2011 Draft eligible); Mattias Backman, Linköping HC (2011 Draft eligible).
FORWARDS -- Mattias Granlund, Skelleftea AIK (2011 Draft eligible); Markus Sorensen, Djurgardens IF (Senators); Daniel Mannberg, Lulea HF (2011 Draft eligible); Alexander Lagerstrom, Sodertalje SK (2011 Draft eligible); Filip Gunnarsson, Bofors IK (2011 Draft eligible); Pontus Netterberg, HV 71 (2011 Draft eligible); Joakim Nordstrom, AIK IF (Blackhawks); Christian Nyman, Lulea HF (2011 Draft eligible); Erik Thorell, Skare BK (2011 Draft eligible); Jesper Olofsson, MODO Hockey (2011 Draft eligible); Sebastian Ottosson, Linköping HC (2011 Draft eligible); Oscar Persson, IF Bjorkloven (2011 Draft eligible); Pathrik Vesterholm, IF Malmö Redhawks (2011 Draft eligible).


GOALTENDERS -- Lukas Meili, GCK Lions (2011 Draft eligible); Remo Giovannini, HC Davos (2011 Draft eligible).
DEFENSEMEN -- Samuel Erni, GCK Lions (2011 Draft eligible); Romain Loeffel, Fribourg-Gotteron (2011 Draft eligible); Nicholas Steiner, Kloten (2011 Draft eligible); Luca Camperchioli, ZSC Lions (2011 Draft eligible); Dean Kukan, ZSC Lions (2011 Draft eligible); Patrick Zubler, EHC Biel (2011 Draft eligible); Samuel Guerra, HC Davos (2011 Draft eligible).
FORWARDS -- Reto Schaeppi, GCK Lions (2011 Draft eligible); Tristan Scherwey, SC Bern (2011 Draft eligible); Gaetan Haas, EHC Biel (2011 Draft eligible); Gregory Hofmann, HC Ambri-Piotta (2011 Draft eligible); Inti Pestoni, HC Ambri-Piotta (2011 Draft eligible); Manuel Holenstein, HC Davos (2011 Draft eligible); Ryan McGregor, GCK Lions (2011 Draft eligible); Raphael Kuonen, HC Sierre (2011 Draft eligible); Benjamin Neukom, Rapperswil-Jona (2011 Draft eligible); Matthias Rossi, EV Zug (2011 Draft eligible); Joel Reymondin, HC Davos (2011 Draft eligible); Joel Vermin, SC Bern (2011 Draft eligible); Yannick Herren, Kloten (2011 Draft eligible).

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