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Prospect Spotlight Series: Ivan Demidov

June 10, 2024, 5:58 PM ET [236 Comments]
Zach Jarom
Chicago Blackhawks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
We have reached the final two players in the Prospect Spotlight Series, and we will be turning our focus on the two players whose names get swapped out more than any other prospects who could go at two. First up is going to be the Russian forward, Ivan Demidov.

Ivan Demidov SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL) Right Wing 5-11 168Ibs
Highlights

Background
No prospect has improved their draft value this past season more than Demidov. The 18-year-old has had an amazing season and has seen his stock shoot him up to the second-ranked international skater in this draft class behind defenseman Anton Silayev. In fact, he is seen so highly that he finds himself at the top of most scout rankings, except for Bob McKenzie, who has him at 6th overall. In 30 regular-season games this season, he put up 60 points (23-37), and in 17 playoff games, he managed to muster up 28 points (11-17). While he spent the majority of his season in the MHL, which is Russia’s top junior league, he did get a few games in the KHL and one in the VHL, which are the countries number one and number two leagues. While he doesn’t have points in five games in those leagues, this will have to do with the fact with the fact that he is almost being punished for not signing long-term with SKA St. Petersburg due to his NHL dreams. Demidov does currently have one more year remaining on his KHL deal, but if reports are true, he is exploring terminating this contract to make the jump to North America as soon as possible.

Positive Scouting Report
Scouts have seen Demidov as one of the more creative prospects in recent memory. He displays a very high offensive hockey IQ and combines that with his off-the-charts puck skill, amazing vision, and just pure determination to make the best play possible every time he touches the puck. He has this amazing ability to be so patient with the puck, which is something that’s hard to find in younger players. His ability to make plays in the smallest space on the ice makes opponents respect his skill and almost double-team him when he gets the puck. This is when he really shows off; he is able to pull multiple defenders onto him, opening up his teammates for fantastic scoring situations, and still have the skill to make the play with the extra pressure on him. Another spot in his game that really benefits from his patience is his shooting. He doesn’t force shots on net and has shown time and time again that he is able to wait for the perfect moment to release the puck. Goalies are always having to second-guess what they are going to do—shoot or pass—and this is where they pounce on them. Teams have learned they must respect his skill because whenever he touches the puck, he is going to more than likely beat you. Whether it's with his stick handling, his passing, his shot, or his speed, this is a player that would be an absolute privilege to have in your top six.

Negative Scouting Report
As a forward, there isn’t a whole lot to dislike about Demidov; to find some weaknesses, you will have to go to other aspects of the game. As good as he is on the offensive side of the puck, his defensive game leaves a lot to desire. He has a decent two-way game, but it's not going to get him or Selke votes. This will be an aspect of his game that will need to improve if he wants to be given responsibility in the NHL. The other thing that, more or less, isn’t part of his game is the physical aspect. While this isn't a big red flag given his playing style, coming to the NHL, he is going to need to find that aspect of his game sooner rather than later. The more important thing for him is gaining some weight, as he is very undersized at just 168 pounds.

Final Thoughts
Ivan Demidov on paper looks like a can-miss prospect; he has all the tools to be an elite point producer, and the idea of finding a young, skilled winger to play with Bedard gets everyone going. For me, if I were to question this pick, would his skill translate to the NHL? The answer is more than likely yes, but you do have to factor in that all the positives that are being talked about have come from Russian junior hockey, which, let's face it, isn't the same competition as the NCAA or junior hockey in North America. Could he struggle to make the jump play the best of the best? Of course, but at the end of the day, will a few years of struggle be worth it in the long run, or could he come over and prove to everyone that he should have been playing consistently? Whether it's in Chicago or another NHL franchise, Ivan Demidov is going to be a player to watch.

Prospect Spotlight Series
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Anton Silayev
Zeev Buium
Konsta Helenius
June 10th Ivan Demidov
June 17th Artyom Levshunov
June 24 Final Draft Thoughts

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