THEN: Voynov was the Russian team’s equivalent of a seasoned veteran when he was named to the roster for the 2007 World Junior A Challenge, having already won silver at the 2007 IIHF World Junior Championship as a 16-year-old, and gold at the 2007 IIHF World Under-18 Championship just a few months later. In addition, he was in his second season with Traktor Chelyabinsk of the Russian Superleague (now KHL). While he wasn’t an offensive juggernaut in Trail, B.C., recording just a goal and assist, Voynov was rock-solid on the Russian blue-line, earning a spot on the tournament all-star team for his defensive play. His lone goal briefly gave his team a 6-5 third-period lead in the bronze medal game before the U.S. scored four times in the final five minutes to knock the Russians off the podium.
NOW: Voynov continued to add to his international résumé with a second U18 world championship appearance in 2008, capped off by an all-star selection, as well as two more World Juniors, in 20. He was taken by the Los Angeles Kings with the second pick of the second round (32nd overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, and immediately joined the Kings’ AHL affiliate in Manchester. Voynov played three full seasons with the Monarchs, playing in the AHL All-Star Game in 2011 and earning a spot on the league’s Second All-Star Team following the 2010-11 season, before making his NHL debut early in the 2011-12 season. He played in 54 regular season games for the Kings and all 20 playoff contests as Los Angeles won its first Stanley Cup, making Voynov the first World Junior A Challenge alumnus to hoist hockey’s greatest prize.
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