It hasn’t been a smooth ride for Denis Gurianov since being selected 12th overall in 2015, but he may finally be getting his chance to prove himself at the NHL level. The 21-year old forward has been recalled by the Dallas Stars, replacing Justin Dowling on the roster. The team is getting back from a long road trip, and will play their next four games at home starting tomorrow night against the San Jose Sharks.
Gurianov hasn’t played in an NHL game since making his debut in April 2017, and for good reason. His play in the minor leagues has been inconsistent at best, and frustrating enough to even be scratched at times during the Texas Stars recent Calder Cup run. That inconsistency has seemed to disappear this season though, as Gurianov has often been the best player on the ice for Texas and leads the club with 12 points in 11 games. The 6’2″ forward still has huge potential, and the Stars still hope to squeeze out every drop of it before giving up on him. Why not, given the large draft capital and development time invested in the Russian forward, who first came over to the AHL in 2016. For a team always searching for secondary scoring help, the opportunity is there for Gurianov to establish himself at the NHL level and never look back.
That said, he’ll have to take advantage of that opportunity quickly before the window closes this time around. Brett Ritchie is close to returning from his illness, and Alexander Radulov will obviously be put back into the lineup when he returns from his lower-body injury. The latter was skating recently, and could be back before long for the Stars. If Gurianov is given the green light to play in his second NHL game on Thursday evening, he’ll have to do more than just be a passenger taking in the experience. Showing he can drive puck possession and offensive chances like he has in the minor leagues is a must, or he risks being sent back down to continue his development in the minor leagues.