Demidov is as electrifying a prospect as you can find, with a game built on elite creativity, escapability, and puck skill.
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November 2023 – Ivan Demidov is the most creative, dynamic, and skillful puck handler we’ve seen since at least Jack Hughes. His seemingly innate escapability, versatile inside edges, and great mobility combine with his handling skill to consistently create scoring chances for himself and his linemates with tremendous flair. While there was little debate for us at #1, Demidov was our unanimous pick at #2, garnering support from all those who have watched him play. He breaks the mould (somewhat) of the typical skilled Russian winger, showing off an impressive motor, flashes of strong backchecking ability, and a ceaseless desire to create in all three zones. That said, against MHL competition he can go full pond hockey mode at times, trying anything and everything to see what works. On the one hand, this allows him to practice his creativity and forces him into spots where he needs to make a few consecutive quick decisions and movements to retain possession. But on the other, this style of play teaches bad habits, doesn’t at all work at higher levels, and does not benefit his NHL projection. While we still have unanswered questions (amplified by his injury) his offensive upside is unmatched in this draft class, and we are firm believers that his toolkit and brain will make his transition to the NHL a relatively smooth one when the time comes. Sebastian High (November Rankings: 2nd Overall)