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Canucks prospect Dmitri Zlodeyev will be one of the assistant captains for Russia at the World Juniors

The Canucks may only have one prospect at this year’s World Junior Championships but he will be playing a prominent role for Russia and now has earned quite the honour.

Dmitri Zlodeyev was named one of the five assistant captains for Russia’s world junior team on Wednesday morning.

The 19-year-old Centre is expected to anchor a middle-six line and get time on both the power play and penalty kill units. Zlodeyev is a defence-first centre who is strong in the faceoff dot, works hard on every shift, and has the hands to finish when scoring chances present themselves.

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Wearing a letter is nothing new for Zlodeyev. He has captained U18 teams in the past and is consistently a part of the leadership groups for the Russian junior teams that he has been a part of.

“I try to communicate with everyone on the team. I set up the guys in practice drills and try to set an example,” said Zlodeyev in a conversation with CanucksArmy last week.

Zlodeyev also spoke about learning leadership qualities from Vasily Podkolzin. Zlodeyev played alongside Podkolzin at last year’s Karjala Cup.

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He may not have as big of an impact on the U20 team as Podkolzin did at his last WJC but Zlodeyev’s defensive ability and strong skill in the faceoff dot will have him playing a lot of important minutes for Russia.

We will keep you posted on everything that happens with Zlodeyev at the tournament. He is the only Canucks prospect in the tournament on a Russian team that isn’t predicted to be as strong as they have been in the past. We do know that Russia always comes to play at the world juniors. They may lack the high-end 19 year old they’ve had in years past, but they will be exciting to watch nonetheless. Matvei Michkov is a highlight-reel waiting to happen and they will rely on Yaroslav Askarov in net to keep games close.

The Russians will be coached by a new face in Sergei Zubov, and that will be a bright set of eyes on the young players.

Russia plays Canada for a pre-tournament game on Thursday at 4pm PST. Their tournament play begins on December 26th, when the Russians face team Sweden at 1:30pm PST.