Nation Network Prospect Profiles: #36 Denis Gurianov

For the first and only time in our top-45 countdown, we’ll make the journey across the ocean to Russia. Playing in the MHL and already getting spot duty at the pro level, dynamic winger Denis Gurianov (or Guryanov) is the focus of our #36 prospect profile.

Join us after the jump as we break down one of Europe’s top 2015 prospects.

Bio:

  • Age: 17.27 years old at start of season. Born June 7, 1997
  • Birthplace: Togliatti, Russia
  • Frame: 6’2, 183 lbs
  • Position: LW/RW
  • Draft Year Team: Ladia Togliatti (MHL)
  • Accomplishments: 2015 MHL All-Star, 2015 World U18 Top-3 Player on Russia

Stats:

PCS% 2014 PCS Pts/82 2014 PCS% 2015 PCS Pts/82 2015
33.3% 41.6 33.3% 44.2
PCS Most NHL GP PCS Highest Pts/GP
Loui Eriksson Loui Eriksson
Patrik Berglund Patrik Berglund
Lars Eller Lars Eller

Scouts:

Draft rank:

NHL CSS ISS FutureConsiderations HockeyProspect Pronman McKeen’s McKenzie Button
7 (EU) 24 24 16 35 22 21 20

From Curtis Joe, EliteProspects:

A highly skilled forward who intimidates with his speed and proficient puckhandling ability, Denis Guryanov may have one of the highest ceilings as a forward prospect for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Very strong on his skates and uses his size to protect the puck well. Drives the net hard and knows where he will shoot before he is even in a position to do so. Possesses a heavy and accurate release on his shot, which he likes to get off near the faceoff dots; if he can’t shoot from there, he will either dangle or bull his way through to the blue paint. While he is proactive and aware defensively, he still needs to work on consistency in his own end. All-in-all, a dynamic offensive threat that has room to grow defensively.

From Craig Button, TSN:

One of the most powerful, dynamic players in the draft. Has excellent speed but his explosive quickness is exceptional and he can create space and opportunities quickly. Excellent shot with a quick release and goalies have to be ready. Easily could be a top 10 or even a top five talent in this draft.

Our Take:

Rather than re-inventing the wheel, here’s what I wrote about Gurianov just 10 days ago:

Playing in the Russian MHL, we don’t have a whole lot to go on in terms of historical comparables for Gurianov. What we do know is that he was the most prolific U18 player in the MHL this past season, and the 4th most productive all-time on a per-game basis behind Nikita Kucherov, Nikita Gusev (a Tampa Bay prospect), and Anatoli Golyshev. While Kucherov’s production was head and shoulders better than every other U18 MHLer ever, Gurianov possesses a toolkit that Gusev and Golyshev simply did not.
Per Craig Button, Gurianov is a dynamic skater with great hands and a high-end shot. EliteProspects also praises his explosive offensive abilities and mentions a tantalizingly high ceiling given his physical abilities. ESPN’s Corey Pronman has Gurianov ranked a bit lower at 35th, but he too makes mention of Gurianov’s raw skating ability to go along with a competitive streak and plus-level finishing ability.
Defense and hockey sense are a consensus minor concern with Gurianov, as is the ever-present “Russian factor,” which in practice is less xenophobia and more lower expected value on players due to KHL risk. All in all, it sounds like Gurianov is a high-octane energy winger that could be best suited for a middle-6 role in the NHL with possible second-line offensive upside – a fine prospect around 23rd overall.

His skill set hasn’t changed in the past 10 days, and since there’s really little clear separation between the guys we have ranked in the mid-30’s and the late teens or so, Gurianov would be a fine pick anywhere in the late first to early second round in our view.

Our PCS tool has been tweaked since that writing however, and if we assume that the Russian MHL is about as competitive as the Swedish Superelit and Finnish Jr. A SM-Liiga, we can see that due to his young age Gurianov has few comparables, and we can fairly compare Gurianov to guys such as Loui Eriksson, Alex Steen, and Lars Eller in terms of performance. His 1 point in 8 KHL games at a young 17 also draws comparisons to Evgeni Kuznetsov, but that’s a tiny sample.

Gurianov may be better than this ranking gives him credit for, but it remains to be seen if he can translate his game effectively to North American ice.

    • 916oiler

      Tantalizing set of hands and a good shot too. If he drops down to our 23rd pick, it would be a hard decision GMJB has to make. I personally might be tempted to swing for the fences and go for a home round…

      • 916oiler

        Hope so. I really wouldn’t mind, even if it’s a significant risk.

        If the plan is to avoid the draft lottery at all costs by scraping into the playoffs, we better be willing to take a risk on a #23 pick who could develop into a top-ten level talent.

        Based on the Baertschi trade, Benning seems to acknowledge that our meaty-potatoes need some gravy. So I’m hopeful, but not holding my breath.