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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The next great Russian could be picked in June

Vladislav Namestnikov, London Knights (OHL): What he lacks in size (5-11 1/2, 170), he compensates for in straight-ahead speed. At the World Under-17 Challenge, he produced 8 goals and 10 points in five games. He'd represent his country at the World Under-18 Championships, too, notching 7 points in seven games. Namestnikov would continue his rapid ascent up the Russian ladder playing against men in Russia's 2nd division with Khimik Voskresensk, scoring 11 goals and 17 points in 26 games in 2009-10.

"Vlad plays a high-energy, two-way game," Edwards told "He's very aggressive on the forecheck and backcheck and has the ability to beat defenders outside and cut back to the net. He has an excellent wrist shot that he can release with accuracy on the rush."

Alexander Khokhlachev, Windsor Spitfires (OHL): Khokhlachev is the most physical of the five Russians. He offers good hockey sense, a solid positional attack and some leadership to boot.

"He'll take a hit to make a  play and he's not at all afraid," Edwards said. "I've seen him get hit hard a few times and he just bounces right back into the play. His energy level is always there, and he's always working hard. Down the stretch for Windsor, he's played well. He's a skilled forward."
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