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BSH 2018 Community Draft Board, No. 19: Grigori Denisenko

The Russian winger takes the next spot in our countdown.

NHLI via Getty Images

Grigori Denisenko is one of the more frustrating prospects of this draft, he appears to have a high end skill set, but the production has yet to come. Let’s learn a little more about him.

BSH 2018 Community Draft Board, No. 19: Grigori Denisenko

Position / Team: LW / Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (MHL)
2017-18 Statistics: 9 G, 13 A in 28 GP
Size: 5’11” 172

Pre-draft rankings

No. 7 (Euro Skaters) by NHL Central Scouting
No. 18 by Future Considerations
No. 18 by ISS Hockey
No. 13 by Pronman/The Athletic (Final)

What’s there to like?

Grigori Denisenko has possibly one of the best skill sets in this draft class. His puck skills and skating can absolutely be game-breaking at times. He’s essentially the quintessential example of what is working in today’s NHL. Speedy, high skilled creative hockey players. While I’d agree with many analysts that his puck skills are better than his skating, his ability to push defenders back with his skating ability alone is obviously an incredible asset.

Denisenko positions himself very well on the ice. He’s able to put himself in the right place at the right time on numerous occasions and he can find the soft spots with the slightest of movements. Although I think he projects to be more of a playmaker at the NHL level, one cannot discount Denisenko’s shot. He puts his shot and his positional awareness skills on show in this clip.

According to Corey Pronman of The Athletic, in his 2018 NHL Draft Board:

Denisenko is very creative and he can make a highlight reel play. His speed isn’t as dangerous as his skill, but he skates well and can push defensemen back, which, combined with his skill, leads to lots of controlled entries. I’ve seen him take draws at times in the Russia league and kill penalties well, including being dangerous shorthanded. I’d like to see his shot be more lethal, but it’s about average.

What’s not to like?

Size and questions of production are the two main points with Denisenko. He’ll definitely need to bulk up a bit before he makes the jump to the NHL level, although I do think he’s one of those players who can “play bigger” than their size suggests. The main concern with myself however, is his production. He put together a solid season in Russian juniors this year, but for a first round talent, I’d expect him to be at least point per game in the MHL. It’s even more concerning when he put up the same amount of points last year in the MHL, in three fewer games. This upcoming season will be huge for his development, if he produces well in the KHL I think he puts these concerns to bed, but as for right now it’s a tad worrying.

How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?

Denisenko would be one of the best forward prospects in the pool, although I think I might have to rank Wade Allison above him in terms of wingers, and Morgan Frost if we’re considering him a future winger. He absolutely helps the high end skill department as well in the prospect ranks.

Could the Flyers actually get him?

I believe he’ll definitely be there at 14 and even at 19 if they’re lucky. It’s going to be interesting how many teams shy away from him because of the lack of production, or how many want him because of those game-breaking skills.

Additional reading

2018 NHL Entry Draft Prospect Profile: Grigori Denisenko (Defending Big D)

At 5’11, and over 170 lbs, Denisenko could still use some more muscle. Though he’s versatile in all three zones, he won’t win as many puck battles as you’d like. Because he wants the puck as much as possible, there are times when he’s hoping it’ll simply come to him rather than actively take it. This can make him more passive without the puck than you’d like. But the main criticism is a pointed one; if he’s so talented, why doesn’t he score more points? I honestly couldn’t tell you. There’s not much information on Denisenko’s role with his MHL team, so whatever context could clarify his numbers aren’t there. At #13, Denisenko would be considered a massive reach. But if he’s still there in the 2nd round (where Scott Wheeler has him), Dallas would be foolish to pass on him.

Highlights (video credit to Burgundy Rainbow):

Just one added to the board this time, and it’s our pick at 25th overall in the SB Nation Mock Draft; Nils Lundkvist

Nils Lundkvist — D, Lulea (SHL) — 2 G, 3 A in 28 GP

Lundkvist is a puck moving right-handed defenseman who is a very good skater and has good offensive instincts. That said, his best quality in my eyes though is his hockey IQ; he’s a very smart player both on and off the puck. The way he sees the ice on the offensive side is right at the top of this draft class among his defensive peers, and doing so at his age in the SHL is incredibly impressive. He’s been very good at suppressing shots this season (Relative Corsi Against/60 around -8) though there could be sample and/or deployment factors impacting that.. He does need to work on his overall defensive game, though, as he does have some issues when he gets pinned down low. Like all young puck moving defenseman, he needs to find the balance between risk and reward when he has the puck on his stick.

— via Blueshirt Banter

2018 BSH Community Draft Board

  1. Rasmus Dahlin — D, Frolunda (SHL) (no vote)
  2. Andrei Svechnikov — RW, Barrie (OHL) (60% of the vote)
  3. Filip Zadina — LW, Halifax (QMJHL) (74%)
  4. Brady Tkachuk — LW, Boston University (NCAA) (57%)
  5. Oliver Wahlstrom — C/RW, USNTDP (USHL) (40%)
  6. Quinn Hughes — D, Michigan University (NCAA) (50%)
  7. Adam Boqvist — D, Brynas IF (SHL) (42%)
  8. Evan Bouchard — D, London (OHL) (49%)
  9. Noah Dobson — D, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL) (50%)
  10. Jesperi Kotkaniemi — C, Assat (Liiga) (34%)
  11. Joe Veleno — C, Drummondville (QMJHL) (38%)
  12. Joel Farabee — LW, USNTDP Juniors (USHL) (45%)
  13. Rasmus Kupari — C, Karpat (Liiga) (31%)
  14. Ty Smith — D, Spokane (WHL) (22%)
  15. Barrett Hayton — C, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) (34%)
  16. Bode Wilde — D, USNTDP Juniors (USHL) (30%)
  17. Vitali Kravtsov — RW, Traktor Chelyabinsk (KHL) (35%)
  18. Isac Lundestrom — C, Lulea (SHL) (29%)
  19. Grigori Denisenko — LW, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (MHL) (39%)


Please use your vote below to answer the following question: If all of the players listed were available when the Flyers were on the clock, who would you want them to pick?


Who should be No. 20 on the 2018 BSH Community Draft Board?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Akil Thomas
    (6 votes)
  • 17%
    Serron Noel
    (14 votes)
  • 11%
    Martin Kaut
    (9 votes)
  • 18%
    Ryan Merkley
    (15 votes)
  • 11%
    K’Andre Miller
    (9 votes)
  • 3%
    Benoit-Olivier Grouxl
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    Jared McIsaac
    (1 vote)
  • 22%
    Dominik Bokk
    (18 votes)
  • 6%
    Alexander Alexeyev
    (5 votes)
  • 1%
    Nils Lundkvist
    (1 vote)
81 votes total Vote Now