A dynamic and electric player, Grigori Denisenko lands in our 49th ranked slot.
Denisenko is one of the most offensively gifted and dynamic players in this draft class but lacks size and has some things that he needs to work on before he can be effective in the NHL.
Given that he spent all of last season in the MHL, we also lack conclusive draft analytical data to help aid in the ranking and thus he falls into the middle of the second solely because of his talent.
Let’s take a look at the young Russian forward.
- Age/Birthdate: 17.23/ June 24, 2000
- Birthplace: Novosibirsk, RUS
- Frame:5-foot-10/ 165 lbs
- Position: Left Wing
- Handedness: Right
- Draft Year Team: Loko Yaroslavl(MHL)
- Russia U15 Champion
- Russia U15 Bronze Medal
- YOG Bronze Medal
- YOG Most Assists (6)
- U17 WHC Bronze Medal
- MHL Champion
Grigori Denisenko is expected to play in the KHL for next season, which will be a good test to see where he stands among that level of play. He appeared in four KHL playoff games to close out this past season and the scouting reports have been very positive despite being held off the scoresheet.
There are some rumours that Denisenko is interested in coming to the CHL next and it’s why he was left of the U18 World Juniors roster. Time will tell on that front.
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The Novosibirsk native has a full arsenal of weapons that he uses to create havoc in the offensive zone.
He is quick and agile on his feet with a really good top speed and edge work to change directions quickly. His vision allows him to play at the pace efficiently and effectively, which in turn causes his opponents to have trouble containing him. Denisenko has a quick shot that is complemented by quick hands that allow him to dangle and move around the ice with ease. He is creative with the puck and with his forays into the offensive zone.
There is a ton of upside to his offensive game in the sense that if he were to get paired with some really offensive minded players, his points totals could skyrocket as he can do it all in the offensive zone.
On the flip side, there are some concerns about his game which include his defensive play and his consistency.
On the defensive side of the game, he has the tendency to cheat towards the attack which in turn allows his opponents to get lanes easier than you would like. Given his smaller stature, he isn’t a very physical player. It’s not fair to expect him to be that grinding type of player in any of the zones, but he can be smarter with his engagements and placement on the ice.
When he does get that break though, he makes it count his speed and skill. You don’t want to erase that desire to create offence off the turnover but just refine his play in the defensive zone. He has the two step quickness to beat most defenders and thus a little different placement in the zone won’t entirely kill it.
Like any junior aged player, they can have times where they just aren’t on and disappear into the game. Denisenko is so talented offensively that when he is on his game, he can be unstoppable and thus a little more consistency throughout a contest and over a few games is something he will need to work on.
As we can see from the table below, we have Grigori Denisenko ranked lower than the consensus public rankings and that is due to his size, consistency, lack of data to work with the eye test, and the concern that he may never come over to North America. Those are all likely overstated by us but it’s still part of the whole picture. It would not be surprising to see the young winger go in the middle of the first round or fall out and be available in early parts of the second day. You just never know with a player like him.
If we are going solely off talent and ignoring all other factors, including size, then Denisenko is easily a Top 15 pick but that’s not how it works and thus we have ranked where we do. If there was a scout in the room that felt very strongly that those concerns are not to be worried about, then he would be a player that we would quickly move up.
His potential is through the roof but there is a chance that it isn’t all put together at the NHL level.
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A creative player with the puck who can dart in and out of the lanes with expert edgework, quick acceleration and creative lines. Slight stature but enjoys engaging.
Flashy winger with a ton of upside who can make a variety of moves to get within striking distance of the goal. Denisenko dealt with consistency issues throughout the season, but he’s an unstoppable force when engaged
CanucksArmy’s 2018 NHL Draft Rankings