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Russian WJC-2020 captain to join Panthers next season

Mike Olivson   ·   11 février 2020
Grigori Denisenko, 19, is planning on starting next season with the Florida Panthers.

Drafted 15th overall in 2019, the young LW from Russia led the country's WJC team in points in each of the last two years. A product of KHL's Lokomotiv Yaroslavl system, Denisenko signed a two-year deal the year he was drafted and stayed in Russia. Though he is not officially signed, sources say that is a formality, which will be handled as soon as the season ends and Denisenko will report to the Panthers training camp next season.

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Though his performances at the WJC have been spectacular (18 points in 14 games over two tournaments,) he's struggled for ice time and consistency with the KHL club. Once described by draftineu.com as "a playmaker with the shooting ability to finish chances himself," Denisenko has only 9 points in 32 games for Lokomotiv this season, after getting only 6 in 25 games last year. Listed as 5'11", 181 lbs, it may simply be a matter of growing into his body and be able to compete with men rather than teenagers for the young forward.



Florida finds itself in a tough spot. Just three points out of a playoff spot, they have decisions to make before the deadline on pending UFAs Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov, and will not likely have the cap room to retain them both. If the WJC version of Denisenko shows up to training camp, a roster spot is his for the taking.

Source: Sport Business Gazeta
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