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Draft Profile: Grigori Denisenko, Quick Hits

June 12, 2018, 9:33 AM ET [242 Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Philadelphia Flyers Blogger •NHL.com • RSSArchiveCONTACT

If one goes primarily by statistics or physical profile, it may be tough to understand the hype for Russian left winger Grigori Denisenko as a potential mid first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. Apart from being small (5-foot-10, 171 pounds), his production at the MHL (Russian junior level) for a very deep Loko Yaroslavl team was decent but nothing spectacular. The player, who turns 18 on June 24, also has relatively minimal international experience. There are knocks on his discipline (including a suspension for a knee-to-knee hit and quite a few stick penalties), and commitment to a 200-foot game.

Ah, but the hightlight reels on Denisenko are spectacular. He is a tremendous skater, stickhandler and passer, with his more enthusiastic proponents likening his skill set to NHLer Artemi Panarin. He is not predictable to defenders as he will try a variety of different dekes, spins or simply go around the defender if there is a chance to beat him wide. He is very aggressive offensively and unafraid of larger defenders. He doesn't just dangle on the perimeter and has an ability to materialize in scoring position,although he is more playmaker than finisher.

This season, at the MHL level, Denisenko had 22 points (9 goals, 13 assists) in 31 games. That is not a spectacular total for a high-skill prospect in a junior league but he was a 17-year-old in a deep lineup with many older players.

Denisenko speaks very little English at present but told teams at the NHL Combine that, although he has two years remaining on his contract in Russia, he has interest in coming over to play in North America as soon as possible.



1) Over on Flyers TV, broadcaster Jim Jackson spoke to assistant general manager Chris Pryor about the team's annual drafting strategy (take the best available player with the first few picks, balance off positional depth later if it makes sense to do so) and about trying to game plan for many different scenarios as the first round of the Draft unfolds.

2) Today in Flyers History: On June 12, 2002, the Flyers traded Brian Boucher and a 2002 third-round pick to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Michal Handzus and Robert Esche.

3) Today in Flyers History: On June 12, 2012, the Flyers acquired the negotiating rights to impending unrestricted free agent Mark Streit from the New York Islanders in exchange for minor league forward Shane Harper and a 2014 fourth-round pick. In 274 games with the Flyers, Streit would produce 140 points. In 2014-15, he led all NHL defensemen in power play points.
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