Fantasy Summary

Undersized but dynamic puck moving defenseman who defends well despite his physical limitations. Could grow into a serviceable top-four defender with the ability to drive offense and quarterback a powerplay at the NHL level.


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October 2023 – Gulyayev has signed an extension to remain in the KHL until 2026. This puts a notable delay on any potential fantasy returns, but the young blueliner is seeing real time in the Russian league despite his age which is a good sign for his opportunity to develop. Hayden Soboleski

June 2023 – Gulyayev has been selected 31st overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2023 NHL Draft. Curtis Rines

April 2023 – Gulyayev had a very busy season playing several games across three different leagues while playing in some international tournaments as well. Truth be told, I think he could have benefited from consistent time in one or two leagues as it felt like much of his season was getting acclimated to new teammates and situations. Still, Gulyayev showcased his offensive skill with 25 points in 22 MHL games. Gulyayev is a small but speedy defenseman who likes to activate and transitions the puck well. He’s not afraid to attempt difficult passes if it means it’s an opportunity to set up a scoring chance. There are some instances where he can be a bit too dialed in on the path when carrying the puck and not see better opportunities to distribute the puck, but he’s still a good distributor. Gulyayev has excellent 4-way mobility and uses this to defend the rush effectively. A big concern remains his size and in-zone defensive positioning and awareness. This area of his game needs a lot of work and will likely be the difference between being a capable top 4 defenseman vs. a fringe NHL/very good KHL player. Jordan Harris

September 2022 – Gulyayev enjoyed an excellent 2021-22 season where he experienced success at both the domestic and international stages. The season started with a Hlinka Gretzky Cup gold medal performance where Gulyayev tallied five points in five games for the Russian squad. In the Russian junior league, the MHL, he became the most productive 16-year-old in league history, notching 35 points in 54 games with Omskie Yastreby. Heading into his draft season, expect Gulyayev to see leading minutes in the MHL with some opportunity to play games in the second-tier Russian professional league, the VHL.

Watching Gulyayev, it’s easy to see why he had a record-breaking age 16 season. The first thing that sticks out is vision. Starting the breakout for his team, Gulyayev reads the opposing team like a football quarterback scanning the field. He looks for the most explosive play first, a long stretch pass to a forward. If it’s there, he has the ability and willingness to make the pass. If the big play is not there, he’ll reel it in and attempt a pass in the medium or short range, in that order, which illustrates the “touchdown to checkdown” mentality he possesses. His transition game is strong not only due to his vision and ability to read the defense but because his passes are very accurate with appropriate pace. In the offensive end, Gulyayev maneuvers around the ice with great mobility, picking appropriate opportunities to drive to the net for either a shot or to open up a lane to hit a winger on the opposite side with a cross-ice pass. He possesses a solid shot but will make his money from his playmaking and puck distribution. On the powerplay, it’s clear that the play runs through him. He is dangerous because he can manipulate the penalty killers to open up space that he can exploit. He has the desire to make the difficult play if it results in a dangerous opportunity for his team.

Gulyayev is a very good skater who blends above-average straight-line speed with excellent quickness and mobility. He has oily hips which allow him to change direction with fluidity and no wasted motion. His quickness in all four directions is an asset in the defensive end as he’s able to close potential passing lanes, race to loose pucks, and run a player out of their path to the net. His size is a bit concerning as he will never be a player who physically imposes himself on opponents, and he won’t be able to rely on his reach to bat pucks away as often as a larger player could. Still, he does have adequate stick usage, all things considered. What he loses in size, he partially recovers with a good motor and quick feet. He is unlikely to be a defensive stalwart in the NHL but could be serviceable if he can add strength and weight in his post-draft development years while maintaining his mobility and compete level. Gulyayev is a very good prospect who could outgrow the MHL as soon as the middle of the 2022-23 season, given the progress already made in his D-1 season. Jordan Harris

Fantasy Upside 8.0
NHL Certainty 8.5
Country RUS
Position D
Roster Type Europe
Shoot/Glove Left
Date of Birth April 26, 2005
Height 5‘10”
Weight 170 lbs
Drafted 2023 Round 1; Overall: 31


 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2018-2019 Sibir Novosibirsk U15Russia U16- - -- -|        
 2019-2020 Sibir Novosibirsk U16Russia U167 9 514 12|        
  Team Siberia U16Districts Cup U167 2 79 10|        
  Avangard Omsk U16Russia U1620 5 1823 16|        
  Russia U16 (all)International-Jr14 1 45 8|        
  Russia U16 YOG4 0 11 2|        
 2020-2021 Avangard Omsk U16Russia U164 1 01 16|        
  Avangard Omsk U17Russia U1724 5 2934 48|        
  Yastreby Omsk U18Russia U186 0 33 2|        
  Avangard Omsk U17Russia U17 Finals7 2 1113 6|        
 2021-2022 Russia U18Hlinka Gretzky Cup5 2 35 0|        
  Omskie YastrebyMHL54 7 2835 24|Playoffs13 0 55
 2022-2023 Avangard OmskKHL13 0 11 6|        
  Omskie KryliaVHL12 0 44 4|        
  Omskie YastrebyMHL22 2 2325 18|Playoffs17 2 810
 2023-2024 Avangard OmskKHL64 4 812 8|Playoffs12 2 13
 2024-2025 Avangard OmskKHL- - -- -|