Florida Panthers Sign Grigori Denisenko To An Entry Level Deal

Grigori Denisenko
VANCOUVER, BC - JANUARY 2: Grigori Denisenko #28 of Russia celebrates after scoring a goal against Slovakia in Quarterfinal hockey action of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship on January, 2, 2019 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

The Florida Panthers have announced that they have signed Grigori Denisenko to a three-year entry-level contract. The team announced the news in the morning on May 5th.

Panthers Sign Grigori Denisenko

Originally drafted in the first round (15th overall) by the Panthers in the 2018 NHL Draft, Denisenko has been playing in the KHL with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. In 38 games this season, Denisenko had 12 points (six goals and six assists). He has worked his way up the professional ranks in Russia. Denisenko played as a youth within the junior ranks of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. He made his professional debut in the KHL with the big club during the 2017-18 season. During the 2018-19 season, Denisenko played in 25 games with Lokomotiv before returning to the junior ranks recording six points (four goals and two assists). In six playoff games, he had three assists).

What stands out most from that season is that Denisenko was the top-scorer of the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championships helping Russia earn a bronze medal. In seven games with Russia Denisenko recorded nine points (four goals and five assists). During the 2020 World Junior Hockey Championship, where Russia fell to Canada in the gold medal game, Denisenko matched is point total from the previous year recording three goals and six assists.

What the Panthers Can Expect

Ben Kerr described Denisenko ahead of the 2018 NHL Draft by saying, ” he is an excellent skater. He has a smooth stride that leads to quick acceleration and very good top-end speed. His quick feet lead to very good agility and edge work. He is extremely dangerous off the rush. If defenders give him too much space, it opens up passing and shooting lanes and Denisenko is skilled enough to take advantage of the situation. He has outstanding vision and passing skills. Not to mention his snapshot and wrist shot are very accurate as he features a quick release. Like most young players his defensive game is a work in progress.” The full scouting report is available here.

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Jim is a 2008 graduate of Saint Michaels College who is currently writing about the NHL for Last Word on Hockey. His work includes writing about the New Jersey Devils as well as NHL Notebooks for the Metro and Central Division. Jim has a passion for the game of hockey. As one coach put it "he is the student of the game." When Jim is not writing he can be found at the local rinks playing or being a referee. Throughout his time in the game, Jim continues to coach a local high school team. In addition, he broadcasted several New Jersey Junior Rockets games for the Eastern Hockey League. Reach him on Twitter: @JimBiringer

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