A hard-nosed forward with high-end skill. Top-line upside but some risk as well.
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May 2020 – Expect Grigori Denisenko to receive an opportunity to make an impact for the Florida Panthers at the start of next season. Playing 36 games in the KHL last year, he’s already proven he can hold his own against more experienced opposition and produced 12 points in limited playing time. In the KHL, teenagers tend to see less ice-time and he will receive more opportunities in Florida. Look for coach Joel Quenneville to experiment with Denisenko in a top-six role to capitalize on the winger’s strengths and skillset. Fantasy owner might be in for a real treat if he transitions quickly to the North American game. John Gove
December 2018 – Denisenko has been invited to Russia’s World Junior Championship camp. Denisenko is talented enough to be a difference-maker at this level but the national team coach is not a big fan of him because of his discipline issues, so it remains to be seen if Denisenko makes the final team or not. Jokke Nevalainen
November 2018 – Denisenko has been assigned to Lada Togliatti team in the VHL which is a second-tier pro league in Russia. Denisenko hasn’t been quite ready to play a significant role at the KHL level but he’s also too good to play in junior anymore, so playing at a lower pro level seems like a good thing for his development. Denisenko has flashed elite offensive upside but hasn’t been able to do it consistently at the highest level just yet. Jokke Nevalainen
August 2018 – Denisenko’s previous KHL contract was terminated but he has signed a new two-year contract with Yaroslavl Lokomotiv of the KHL. This means he isn’t allowed to sign a contract with the Panthers until May 1st 2020. At that time, Denisenko should be able to jump straight to the NHL and make an impact right away. Jokke Nevalainen
June 2018 – Denisenko was drafted 15th overall by the Florida Panthers. Denisenko is a right-handed shot winger who prefers playing on the left side in typical Russian fashion. Denisenko is not big (5-11, 172) but he plays bigger than his size. He’s a very good skater and an extremely talented and creative offensive player but needs to work on his discipline. Denisenko had a slow start to his season in the MHL but was much better during the second half. He has a KHL contract until 2020 but there might be some sort of out clause because reports are saying Denisenko could play in the Canadian Hockey League next season. Jokke Nevalainen