One of the more interesting names to watch in the upcoming draft is Grigori Denisenko, an extremely talented young player from Russia. The 17-year old winger was ranked seventh among international skaters by the NHL’s Central Scouting, but carries the same risk many young Russians do. Namely, there is a chance he could decide not to come over to North America and instead play in the KHL for a large portion of his career.
Igor Eronko of Sport-Express reports that Denisenko will come to the NHL draft combine however, which could assuage some of those fears. The young winger told Eronko that “almost every” team has contacted him already, a good indication of just how highly he is thought of by the front offices around the league. He has two years left on his current contract in the KHL, but has a high offensive ceiling and should go in the first round.
- Eronko also reports that Andrey Pedan has signed with Ak Bars of the KHL, meaning he won’t be back with the Penguins next season. Pedan was part of the return for Derrick Pouliot earlier this season, and recorded 26 points in 52 games for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins down the stretch. The big Lithuanian defenseman hasn’t been able to break into the NHL full-time, and will now take his talents to Russia. Scheduled to become a restricted free agent in the NHL, if the Penguins issue a qualifying offer this summer they will retain his exclusive rights.
- The Minnesota Wild have interviewed Paul Fenton extensively for their vacant GM position, and Jeff Marek of Sportsnet is hearing that if he does get the job he’ll be bringing Jack Ferreira from the Los Angeles Kings up north with him. Ferreira was famously the first GM of both the San Jose Sharks and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and would bring plenty of experience to the table for the Wild.
- Martin Necas has been added to the Czech roster for the World Championship, giving the team another young talent to try and keep up with the other nations. Necas was an absolute force at the World Juniors earlier this year, scoring 11 points in 7 games. The Carolina Hurricanes prospect will likely play in the NHL next season, meaning this tournament is a good warm up for what he’ll see on a regular basis.