Make no mistake: Kazakhstan faces an arduous task if the team hopes to stay in the top rung of the world juniors. The winners of last year’s Div. I-A grouping earned promotion through that tournament victory, with Belarus going the other way. But getting to the top level and staying there are two very different things, especially now that relegation is determined by a best-of-3 series (so you can’t fluke your way to survival with one good game at the end).
The Kazakhs will have experience in Victoria, thanks to 10 players still eligible from last year’s entry, but no NHL draft picks. Of course, the top-level competition will be much steeper as well, but at least this crew will have some chemistry to build off.
Leading scorer Artur Gatiyatov and defenseman Valeri Orekhov return, with Orek...
About the Author
Ryan Kennedy is the associate senior writer and draft/prospect expert at The Hockey News. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all called his house. He lives in Toronto with his wife and kids where he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.