A somewhat mysterious injury for a top Florida Panthers prospect has been cleared up, with Grigori Denisenko confirmed to have suffered a broken kneecap back on January 12th while playing with the Charlotte Checkers. The Checkers announced the injury today. The injury occurred in what would prove to be an incredible effort from the Russian winger, who broke his kneecap on a blocked shot, but continued to play, scoring the game winner. Denisenko would ultimately have surgery on his knee, but appears to be in good spirits and confident that he will be ready to go in time for Florida Panthers training camp.
Florida’s first-round pick in 2018, 15th overall, Denisenko’s development has not exactly been meteoric, however the team still has high hopes for him. Prior to being drafted, Denisenko was a standout for Yaroslavl in the KHL as a part of their development program and on Russia’s junior teams. After being selected by Florida, Denisenko made his KHL debut with Yaroslavl, though he didn’t take the steps forward Florida, and Yaroslavl, might have hoped, recording just 18 points in 63 games over two seasons. The forward made the jump to North America ahead of the 2020-21 season, but due to injuries and the COVID-19 situation, he was limited to just 45 AHL games and 8 NHL games over two seasons. In his limited time, Denisenko was solid, putting up 27 points in those 45 AHL games, and an impressive four assists in seven games in his NHL debut in 2020-21. Once healthy, if Denisenko hopes to have an impactful NHL career, he will have to continue to take steps forward in his production, especially if he wants to appear regularly in an incredibly deep Panthers lineup. The good news for Denisenko on that front is, with the flat salary cap and the Panthers being near the ceiling, they will need affordable pieces that they can rely on, and one of their top prospects may be a solution.
- After being listed as day-to-day with speculation about when either could return, Colorado Avalanche forwards Nazem Kadri and Andrew Cogliano are now officially listed as scratches for tonight’s Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals, confirms ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski. Though not particularly surprising, being without either player is a tough blow for Colorado who is tasked with defeating the reigning two-time Cup Champions in the Tampa Bay Lightning, who appear to be icing their regular lineup, which includes for the first time since Game Seven of the first round, playoff standout Brayden Point. Brandon Hagel, who’s status for Game One was questionable and considered a game-time decision is in the lineup tonight, taking the place of Riley Nash.
- Earlier this evening, when NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly conducted their media availability ahead of the Stanley Cup Finals, they touched on a range of NHL news and important topics, including the status of Evander Kane’s contract dispute with the San Jose Sharks. Today’s update was, in essence, not to expect an update all too soon, as Daly disclosed that it is likely Kane’s arbitration will not be decided until after the NHL’s free agency opens on July 13th (link). The reason, Daly added, is that the arbitrator in the matter is not available to conduct the next hearing until next month. Still, as TSN’s Chris Johnston’s notes, this isn’t expected to inhibit his ability to sign a contract for the 2022-23 season, or beyond.
- A few days ago, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the Ottawa Senators could be looking to make some hires in their front office after letting go of executive Pierre McGuire less than a year after they hired him (link). Now, it seems a bit more clear why that is, as TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that Senators Assistant GM Peter MacTavish has departed the organization to join Quartexx Hockey, a full service agency with notable NHL clients such as Patrice Bergeron, Josh Anderson, Drake Batherson, Anthony Beauvillier, and more.