Photo courtesy of

Fantasy Summary

A hard-nosed forward with high-end skill. Top-line upside but some risk as well.


Click to Expand

November 2023 – The 2018 first round pick of the Panthers found himself on the outside looking in at Paul Maurice’s opening night roster in Florida, necessitating a move to waive Denisenko and his league minimum contract back to Charlotte of the AHL. Instead, Vegas swooped in to claim the 23 year old, who is currently leading the Silver Knights in scoring with 11 points in 10 games as of this writing. As an offensive player by nature, he is a more natural fit for a top-nine role than a checking role, so his opportunity for NHL minutes this season would likely come via an injury callup ala the one Pavel Dorofeyev seized last year. His contract runs through next season, over the course of which he will be trying to force himself into the Knights’ future plans. Taylor Davis

July 2023 – Denisenko just signed a two-year, one-way contract with Florida. That means he should finally stick with the Panthers full time in 2023-24. That is excellent news because he has been on a steady downward trajectory since the Cats took him early in 2018. Formerly a blue-chip prospect with strong multi-cat potential, he now projects as a depth scorer at the highest level. There were some minor bright spots for the Russian in 2022-23, however: after averaging only 33 games a year (all levels) since being drafted, he finally put together a full campaign of 70+ games between the AHL (56) and NHL (18). Plus, his point-per-game output in the minors increased slightly (0.6 → 0.64). Ben Gehrels

December 2022 – Denisenko, 22, has seen his AHL scoring rate decline for back-to-back seasons and is once again merely a depth scorer on the Charlotte Checkers. He is currently in the midst of a call up to the Panthers, however, where he has one assist so far in four games playing limited minutes. Those minutes have largely come in the bottom six, though the Panthers have experimented with playing him further up the line up alongside Mathew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett. He continues to play a skilled, tenacious game and has the potential to help the big club down the stretch. Ben Gehrels

March 2022 – Denisenko is 7th on his AHL team in scoring and is probably neither a bust nor a top-line talent at this point. He almost scored during his only game with the Panthers this year by cutting to the middle to get a high-danger shot and then crashing the night to get his own rebound. The flashes of dynamism are still there, and Denisenko can still contribute in the near future to an NHL lineup as a skilled, chaos-causing middle-sixer with upside—whether that’s with the Panthers or elsewhere. He’s under contract with Florida until the end of 2022-2023 after which he’s a restricted free agent. Showing consistency with his scoring at the AHL level would help his case for a permanent call-up. Ben Gehrels

October 2021 – Denisenko has been cut from the Panthers training camp and sent down to the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL. The 21-year old is still very much on track to become a full-time NHLer but it’s looking less and less likely that he will deliver on the hype of being drafted 15th overall in 2018. His star potential (14% in his draft year) has now fallen to 1%, meaning he is very unlikely, in terms of historical comparisons, to become a player who will average 60+ points a season over the course of his career. It may even be prudent for Denisenko owners in keeper and dynasty formats to sell high while his name still holds solid value. Regardless of his eventual upside, look for Denisenko to be among the first in line for call-ups to the big club as the season wears on and injuries strike. A strong, full season in the AHL, building on his 9 points in 15 games from last year, will help build his case to crack the Panthers full time in 2022-23. Ben Gehrels

August 2021 – This should be the year that Denisenko finally sticks with the Panthers, though their stacked forward corps will likely force him to start out in the bottom six with secondary powerplay minutes and work his way up — much like fellow top prospect Owen Tippett did last year. There has been a lot of hype around Denisenko but fantasy owners may want to temper expectations. Besides international play against his peers and his first two seasons in the Russian junior leagues, Denisenko has never exceeded or even approached point-per-game status. That includes two seasons in the MHL, two short stints in the KHL, and a handful of games in the VHL and AHL. To be fair, he has often played above his age group and may well have untapped offensive potential, but statistical models suggest players like Brad Boyes and Nathan Horton as comparables: hard-nosed depth scorers who could contribute up and down the lineup but never broke out as true top-line talents. Ben Gehrels


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

April 2020 – Grigori Denisenko has signed his ELC with the Florida Panthers. Keith Fries
March 2020 – Denisenko certainly had himself a year on the international stage, captaining Russia at the U20 World Junior Championships while putting up very good numbers, in the process. He’s got a powerful shot and sharp play recognition which should quickly propel him to the NHL. Fantasy owners should note that, while Denisenko is a right-shot winger, he can easily play on both sides which should provide some versatility when setting your line-ups. Keith Fries

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

Fantasy Upside 7.5
NHL Certainty 8.0
Country RUS
Position LW
Roster Type Minors
Shoot/Glove Right
Date of Birth June 24, 2000
Height 5‘11”
Weight 176 lbs
Drafted 2018 Round 1; Overall: 15


 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2013-2014 Team Center U15Districts Cup U155 1 34 0|        
 2014-2015 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl U16Russia U1634 26 5177 16|        
 2015-2016 Team Center U16Districts Cup U166 10 616 2|        
  Lokomotiv Yaroslavl U17Russia U1729 22 3961 36|        
  Lokomotiv Yaroslavl U16Russia U16 Finals6 2 24 4|        
  Team White IIHF Dev. Camp- - -- -|        
  Russia U16 YOG6 2 68 3|        
 2016-2017 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl U17Russia U173 2 35 27|        
  Loko YaroslavlMHL28 9 1322 59|Playoffs4 0 00
  Lokomotiv Yaroslavl U17Russia U17 Finals6 7 512 18|        
  Loko-76 YaroslavlNMHL5 3 14 10|Playoffs5 4 37 29 
  Russia U17WHC-176 1 34 10|        
 2017-2018 Russia U18Hlinka Gretzky Cup1 0 00 12|        
  Russia U18 |WJAC-19|WJAC-194 1 34 17|        
  Lokomotiv YaroslavlKHL0 0 00 0|Playoffs4 0 00
  Loko YaroslavlMHL31 9 1322 30|Playoffs12 5 27
  Russia U18 (all)International-Jr14 6 511 35|        
 2018-2019 Lokomotiv YaroslavlKHL25 4 26 58|Playoffs6 0 33
  Loko YaroslavlJCWC5 1 34 20|        
  Lada TogliattiVHL6 1 23 4|        
  Loko YaroslavlMHL4 1 23 0|Playoffs13 6 28 12 
  Russia U20WJC-207 4 59 4|        
  Russia U20 (all)International-Jr13 9 817 6|        
  RussiaEHT1 0 00 0|        
  Russia (all)International1 0 00 0|        
 2019-2020 Lokomotiv YaroslavlKHL38 6 612 8|Playoffs6 1 01
  Loko YaroslavlJCWC3 4 04 0|        
  Russia U20WJC-207 3 69 8|        
  RussiaEHT3 0 00 2|        
  Russia U20 (all)International-Jr15 5 1015 10|        
  Russia (all)International3 0 00 2|        
 2020-2021 Florida PanthersNHL7 0 44 2|        
  Syracuse CrunchAHL15 5 49 2|        
 2021-2022 Florida PanthersNHL1 0 00 2|        
  Charlotte CheckersAHL30 9 918 8|        
 2022-2023 Florida PanthersNHL18 0 33 4|Playoffs1 0 00
  Charlotte CheckersAHL56 12 2436 39|Playoffs4 0 00
 2023-2024 Vegas Golden KnightsNHL6 0 00 2|        
  Henderson Silver KnightsAHL65 20 3656 50|        
 2024-2025 Vegas Golden KnightsNHL- - -- -|