New York Islanders forward Nikolay Kulemin was named to Russia's World Cup of Hockey roster this morning, joining some of his countrymen on a team loaded with some serious offensive skills.
Others named to the roster were, unsurprisingly, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Vladimir Tarasenko and Blackhawks rookie Artemi Panarin.
Kulemin, from Magnitogorsk, has played well for Russia at the last two World Championships, scoring a goal and seven assists in nine games last year and three goals and four assists in 10 games in 2014.
Kulemin had a very solid first season for the Islanders last year, scoring 15 goals and 16 assists and bringing a fun energy to the team. This season has been less fun: he currently has just six goals and nine assists and is shooting 8%, the second worst mark of his career. He went 28 games without a goal earlier this season, although he's been a key contributor to the Islanders' league-best (or almost league-best) penalty kill.
That's probably the role he'll play at the World Cup, bringing some defensive responsibility to a team that looks pretty loaded offensively. Sergei Bobrovski, Semyon Varlamov and Andrey Vasilevskiy are the goalies.
One thing we can say for sure, having Kulemin in the line-up will benefit the Russians' beard game enormously.
The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will be played this September in Toronto. More rosters (and uniforms!) will be released throughout the day.
Update: Here's why Kulemin's jersey will look like. Order one today!
Since the original Uni Watch tweet was deleted, here’s Russia’s WC jersey pic.twitter.com/09LjgmV78b— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) March 2, 2016