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Nikita Zaitsev on Team Russia for the World Cup of Hockey

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In the spring, the Russians named a lop-sided preliminary roster with only three defencemen. They've submitted the final 23-man version and as expected Maple Leafs defender Nikita Zaitsev is on the team.

Anna Sergeeva/Getty Images

It's been a busy few weeks for Nikita Zaitsev, he was named to the World Championship media-chosen all-star team after he won a bronze medal.

He was named to the KHL all-star team and given the Golden Helmet award at the KHL Awards.

And now he's joining Team Russia for the World Cup which gets underway in Toronto in September.

The preliminary sixteen members of the team were:

Sergei Bobrovsky Columbus Blue Jackets G
Semyon Varlamov Colorado Avalanche G
Andrei Vasilevskiy Tampa Bay Lightning G
Dmitry Kulikov Florida Panthers D
Andrei Markov Montreal Canadiens D
Dmitry Orlov Washington Capitals D
Artem Anisimov Chicago Blackhawks F
Pavel Datsyuk Detroit Red Wings F
Nikita Kucherov Tampa Bay Lightning F
Nikolay Kulemin New York Islanders F
Evgeny Kuznetsov Washington Capitals F
Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins F
Vladislav Namestnikov Tampa Bay Lightning F
Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals F
Artemi Panarin Chicago Blackhawks F
Vladimir Tarasenko St. Louis Blues F

Along with Zaitsev, the following six players were added:

  • D Alexei Emelin (Montreal Canadiens)
  • D Alexey Marchenko (Detroit Red Wings)
  • D Slava Voynov (SKA St. Petersburg)
  • F Evgenii Dadonov (SKA St. Petersburg)
  • F Vadim Shipachev (SKA St. Petersburg)
  • F Ivan Telegin (CSKA Moscow)

Russia plays their first game on Sunday afternoon, September 18 at 3pm against Sweden. Unless Team Sweden surprises us all in a few hours and names William Nylander to their World Cup team, the Leafs fans in attendance. will have to try out cheering for Russia.