“Many Tolpar alumni play in KHL, it motivates our players”. How is Salavat Yulaev major junior team going to look like this season?

15.07.2021 в 12:00

“Many Tolpar alumni play in KHL, it motivates our players”. How is Salavat Yulaev major junior team going to look like this season?

Tolpar Ufa managed to keep its core players.

Last season Salavat Yulaev Ufa’s major junior team won Junior Hockey League bronze medals for the third time in franchise history. Finishing fifth in Eastern Conference regular season standings, Tolpar made it to the 2021 Kharlamov Cup Semifinals and lost only to future champions JHC Dynamo Moscow.

Tolpar revealed its roster for the first pre-season camp. Ufa Junior Hockey League team was able to keep almost all of their core players, who made it to the semifinal round last year. Several top players have left the league due to age limit but many of Tolpar leaders can still play junior hockey. They will play under Lev Berdichevsky’s coaching staff command. Rail Muftiyev is going to be his assistant coach, while Anatoly Butorin will be the goaltending coach.

Lev Berdichevsky is an experienced coach. He began his coaching career in Junior Hockey League. In the 2012-13 season he joined HC MVD Moscow Region coaching staff and the following year he was appointed as an assistant coach to Alexei Yarushkin at Atlanty Moscow Region. He formerly the head-coach of Yunior Kurgan, Russkie Vityazi Moscow Region, SKA-Varyagi St. Petersburg and SKA-1946 St. Petersburg.

“I have to take a closer look at the players,” said Tolpar Ufa new head-coach. “I’m going to talk to my coaching staff and do my best to get a better understanding of every player’s upsides. That’s where we’re going to build from. I preach modern, aggressive hockey. I want to see my entire 5-man unit to play both offense and defense. We’re going to be in touch with Salavat Yulaev [Ufa] and Toros [Neftekamsk] coaching staffs. But for the most part we’re going to be in close contact with the VHL team. I believe if a someone shows good level of play in Junior Hockey League, he has to be given a fair chance in VHL. As for Ufa, there are a lot of local junior hockey school alumni who play for Salavat Yulaev and Toros. It’s a good achievement for the club and its vertical. There are a lot of Tolpar alumni who play in Kontinental Hockey League and it’s a great motivation for the players I’m going to work with. It’s great that we can see examples of players who made the jump from Junior Hockey League to KHL team – Shakir Mukhamadullin, Rodion Amirov and Danil Bashkirov just to name a few.”

Below we’re going to take a closer look at the roster Lev Berdichevsky is going to work with. However, right now it’s difficult to predict what players are going to be at the core of the team since there’s going to be a lot of movement between the teams of the club system.

Players leaving the team

Forwards: Denis Goryukhin (Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk)  

20-year-old forward will continue his career in Nizhnekamsk. Goryukhin played for Tolpar Ufa for three seasons. He scored 11 goals and notched 20 assists for 31 points in 89 games.

Players leaving due to age limit

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Goaltender: Alexander Kuleshov
Defensemen: Sergei Varlov, Nikita Goloschapov
Forwards: Danil Alalykin, Danil Bashkirov, Alexander Chyorny, Andrei Kuznetsov  

Tolpar Ufa starting goaltender in the 2020-21 season Alexander Kuleshov has retired from Junior Hockey League. Last season he made a name for himself not only by solid play – 26 regular season games, 2.25 goals against average, .930 save percentage – but by putting creative drawings on the blade of his stick. Sergei Varlov and Nikita Goloschapov played 11 Kharlamov Cup Playoffs games each. Varlov was second on Tolpar among defensemen in points. Danil Alalykin also played mostly in the playoffs, while Danil Bashkirov played just five games in Junior Hockey League – all of them in Kharlamov Cup Playoffs. The 20-year-old forward played 28 games in Kontinental Hockey League, scoring three goals and notching two assists for a total of five points. Alexander Chyorny, who was third in points on Tolpar in regular season and was tied for first in playoff goals with Yegor Suchkov, and Andrei Kuznetsov are not eligible to play in Junior Hockey League next season.


Defensemen: Yaroslav Tsulygin (U18 Salavat Yulaev Ufa), Artyom Zubarev (U18 Salavat Yulaev Ufa)
Forward: Marat Khaidarov (Freiburg, Germany)

Two U18 Salavat Yulaev Ufa players inked 2-way deals. Both play defense and both represent hockey dynasties. Yaroslav Tsulygin is a son of former Salavat Yulaev Ufa head-coach Nikolai Tsulygin and also a brother of a former Junior Hockey League player Kirill Tsulygin, who was also a defenseman. As for Artyom Zubarev, he is a son of 3-time VHL champion Artyom Zubarev and a nephew of Gagarin Cup champion, IIHF World Championship gold medalist, Olympic champion and Spartak Moscow defenseman Andrei Zubarev. 19-year-old forward Marat Khairullin also signed a 2-way deal. He was born in Germany and played for Freiburg and Schwenninger. He also competed in Switzerland and was called up to U18 Team Germany. Khairullin spent the previous season in Germany with Freiburg along with EC Zug in Switzerland. Khairullin scored six goals and notched six assists for a total of 12 points in 19 games.

Remaining players eligible for Junior Hockey League

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Goaltenders: Bogdan Vypritsky, Semyon Vyazovoy, Vladlen Kibo 
Defensemen: Ildan Gazimov, Pavel Yelizarov, Dinis Kadyrov, Alexander Komarov, Shakir Mukhamadullin, Sergei Safin-Tregubov, Pavel Semyonov, Yegor Starkov, Vladimir Shapovalenko, Vasily Shumilov
Forwards: Rodion Amirov, Danil Aimurzin, Mark Andreyev, Nikita Asylayev, Vladimir Bakanin, Timur Valeyev, Artyom Gorshkov, Pavel Dergunov, Igor Karpov, Alexander Pashin, Filipp Permyakov, Semyon Rubtsov, Ayaz Saitbatalov, Daniil Sakharov, Nikita Skoropad, Yegor Suchkov, Yegor Firsov, Sergei Shapovalenko.

22 players, who competed in the 2021 Kharlamov Cup Playoffs, were invited to the Junior Hockey League team pre-season camp. We expect to see intense competition on Tolpar Ufa goaltending line. There is an experienced by Junior Hockey League standards netminder Semyon Vyazovoy. However, Vladlen Kibo and Bogdan Vypritsky are capable to compete with the 18-year-old counterpart. Both have played solid hockey when they were given chance last season. Tolpar Ufa were able to keep their entire defensive core intact, including the top defenseman of the 2019-20 season Pavel Yelizarov. In his recent interview the defenseman mentioned that his goal for the season is going to be to crack Kontinental Hockey League lineup. Nevertheless, Tolpar Ufa coaching staff can rely on him.

The camp will also be attended by a Salavat Yulaev Ufa player (Shakir Mukhamadullin) and Toros Neftekamsk player (Yegor Suchkov). Mukhamadullin made his Kontinental Hockey League debut in 2019 and last season scored his first career goal for Salavat Yulaev. Overall, this U18 IIHF World Championship silver medalist played a total of 39 games for Ufa, scoring three goals and seven assists for ten points. In the 2021 Gagarin Cup Playoffs Mukhamadullin was sidelined with an injury. Because of that he was unable to help any team within the club system.

Aside from the abovementioned representatives of men’s teams, Tolpar Ufa leaders are also at the camp – Alexander Pashin, Danil Aimurzin, Timur Valeyev and Sergei Safin-Tregubov. They are joined by players with less experience – the Shapovalenko brothers, Dinis Kadyrov, Ayaz Saitbatalov, Daniil Sakharov and others. Thanks to this melt of different players head-coach Lev Berdichevsky can get a better understanding of the club system and build a roster with regard to players who are going to be called up to Toros Neftekamsk and Salavat Yulaev Ufa.

Rodion Amirov signed a deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs but will spend the upcoming season in Bashkortostan. The 19-year-old forward is not listed among Tolpar Ufa pre-season camp invitees, even though he is still eligible to play in Junior Hockey League. Most likely, Amirov will begin his pre-season preparations with one of men’s team within club system.

Try-out contracts

Defensemen: Leonid Ballo (spent last season with Sakhalinskie Akuly Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk), German Videneyev (U18 Salavat Yulaev Ufa), Alexander Yermolayev (U18 Salavat Yulaev Ufa), Askar Ibragimov (U18 Salavat Yulaev Ufa), Alexei Lavreshin (U18 Salavat Yulaev Ufa).
Forwards: Yegor Andin (U18 Toros Neftekamsk), Mikhail Peresedov (U18 Salavat Yulaev Ufa), Ilya Faskhutdinov (U18 Salavat Yulaev Ufa).

Eight players with try-out contracts will attend Tolpar Ufa pre-season camp. Defenseman Leonid Ballo already has one Junior Hockey League season under his belt. He returned to Ufa after playing 25 regular season games for Sakhalinskie Akuly Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, scoring three goals. All others are Salavat Yulaev junior hockey school alumni. Yegor Andin had the most points among them last season as he netted 16 goals and notched nine assists for a total of 28 games for U18 Toros Neftekamsk. He also picked up three assists in four playoff appearances. U18 Salavat Yulaev Ufa captain Askar Ibragimov is the most noticeable defenseman on the list. Last season he scored four goals and picked up seven assists for a total of 11 points in 26 games.

Pre-season plans

Tolpar Ufa ended their off-season on June 28th. Lev Berdichevsky’s men will have their first camp in Ufa until July 26th. From July 27th to August 1st Tolpar Ufa will host HC Salavat Yulaev Ufa Cup. The team will compete against other Junior Hockey League teams - Avto Yekaterinburg, Omskie Yastreby Omsk Region, Reaktor Nizhnekamsk, JHC Dynamo Moscow and Belye Medvedi Chelyabinsk.

From August 11th to August 16th Tolpar will participate in a pre-season tournament in Omsk with other Junior Hockey League teams – Omskie Yastreby Omsk Region, Avto Yekaterinburg and Sibirskie Snaipery Novosibirsk Region.

Tolpar Ufa will face Ladiya Togliatti on the road in two exhibition games on August 29th and August 30th. After that the team will continue to prepare for Junior Hockey League regular season in Ufa.