Amidst the Coronavirus hiatus, the Florida Panthers signed their highly touted, Russian sniper to his first NHL contract.
Denisenko, who’s 19 years of age, was originally drafted by the Panthers in the first round (15th overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. A native of Novosibirsk, Russia, Denisenko has spent the last three seasons in the KHL with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.
In his first campaign with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (2017-18), Denisenko did not participate in any games with the team, spending the year with Loko Yaroslavl over in the MHL, recording 9G, 13A, for 22 points in 31 games.
The following season, Denisenko saw more of the ice with his parent club, taking part in 25 KHL matches, tallying 4G, 2A, and 6 points in result. He also appeared in six games with Lada Togliatti (VHL), along with four games with Loko Yaroslavl (MHL), totaling three points (1G & 2A) in six games with the former and three points (1G & 2A) in four games with the latter, respectively.
At the international stage with his country, Russia, Denisenko took part in his first World Juniors tournament, stealing the show with nine points (4G & 5A) in seven games, leading his nation to a Bronze Medal finish while concluding as the tournament’s leader in points (9). For his outstanding play, he was named to the WJC’s All-Star Team.
This past season, the right-handed sniper played a full regular season with Lokomotiv, registering 12 points (6G & 6A) in 38 games while featuring in six playoff outings.
Internationally, he again represented Russia at the World Juniors for his second appearance – but this time as the team’s captain – leading them all the way to the finals but claiming Silver instead of Gold. Denisenko recorded the same slash line as the tournament prior (nine points in seven games) and finished as one of the point leaders while also being named as one of Russia’s three best players.
“Grigori is an exciting, dynamic and highly skilled young forward who has been a top player on the international stage and served as captain of Team Russia at the World Juniors. We are thrilled for his bright future with the Panthers for years to come.”
The future is certainly bright for Grigori Denisenko who’s been listed as one of hockey’s top prospects by several scouts. His ability to find the back of the net from just about anywhere is what makes him a serious threat alongside the right side of the ice. His smooth skating ability, meshed with his soft hands, turns him into the ultimate offensive package with high hockey IQ. As he ages and his game matures, he will surely improve on the defensive side of the ice and become a legit, two-way player.
Stay tuned for more relating to your Florida Panthers as we anxiously wait for a decision from the NHL pertaining to the remainder of the 2019-20 season.