For the 2018 SB Nation Mock NHL Draft, Anaheim Calling is pleased to select, from Lokomotiv Yaroslav, Gigori Denisenko.
First off, we are under no impression the Ducks would actually take a Russian in the first round. They have not done so since Stanislav Chistov in 2001. But this is a mock draft and we are vicariously living through this fantasy.
Both myself and fellow staff writer Benny Thomasian teamed up on a four-part series covering this draft and Denisenko was essentially the only pick we agreed on. The kid has undeniable game breaking skill and is the only prospect with top-ten potential that could (and did in this instance) fall to the Ducks at 23.
From Benny in our piece:
“Denisenko is a playmaking (left) wing with excellent vision and ridiculous hands. He has the ability to dart in and out of traffic with excellent edge work, drawing lines that other players don’t have the creativity to see, the agility or acceleration to get to, or the overall ability to execute.”
And my thoughts:
“He has insanely good puck handling skills, excellent skating with high top speed and tremendous vision - his only knocks being that he has a tendency to be too generous with the puck or as we Ducks fans know it: “F$#$kn-shoot-Getzlaf-itis”. He put up 22 points in 31 games for the Yaroslavl junior team but his best showing was with the national team where he put up 11 points in 14 games of international play.”
Selecting Denisenko does not address an organisational need in terms of depth at the LW position (Anaheim is more desperate on the right side) but he is - we feel - the best available player at this selection and brings the kind of electric “bring you out of your seat” game that as of right now, only Rickard Rakell is providing on a team that at times of late struggles to score goals.
Check out this highlight video on the young Russian from the 2017-2018 season.