2015 NHL Draft Prospect Profile #28 - Denis Guryanov

High risk and potentially high reward characterize the draft prospects for this talented Russian.

Denis Guryanov

Position: RW/LW
Current Team: Lada Togliatti, KHL
Date of Birth: June 7, 1997
Place of Birth: Togliatti, Russia
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 192 lbs
Shoots: Left

In the #28 slot of our prospect rundown, we reach a bona fide high risk, high reward prospect. There is no question that Denis Guryanov has the tools -- he was a point-per-game player as a two-sided winger in the Russian junior league, and led Russia's 2015 U-18 WJC squad in scoring. He has great size -- particularly for a 17 year old winger, and the ability to take control of the situation physically, as evidenced by the 33 penalty minutes he racked up in just 12 games at the U-18 tournaments. He is ranked #7 among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting, and is #24 overall in the ISS Rankings, so his exploits have not gone unnoticed.

However, the $64,000 question -- as with so many of his Russian compatriots -- is whether he will actually come to North America to play, and if so, when? He spent the majority of the 2014-15 campaign with Lada's junior club, but had an eight game cup of coffee with the KHL parent. Are the stars in his eyes for the KHL, or the NHL? How would he adjust to the smaller ice and the North American way of life? He will turn 18 just three weeks before the draft, so that's a lot of change to dump on a youngster. Will he follow the path of guys like Sergei Fedorov and Alex Ovechkin (who Guryanov claims as his model player)? Or, will he travel the more dubious trail of Nikolay Zherdev and Nikita Filatov? It's anybody's guess.

Unfortunately, NHL General Managers are not terribly fond of taking big gambles with first round draft picks. That's a recipe for fiscal disaster and sharply curtailed job longevity. For a GM bold enough to take the pick, the rewards could be fantastic. Or . . .

A Good Fit in Columbus?

Columbus is as good a place as any in the league, as guys like Artem Anisimov, Sergei Bobrovsky and Fedor Tyutin would certainly ease the transition and make life a bit easier for him. With the risk factor very high, it's not hard to see Guryanov potentially falling to the 34 or 38 slots that Columbus presently holds in the second round. Of course, with zero North American experience, he will most likely be spending his time in Cleveland, which at least is much closer to the mother ship than Springfield.

If the Blue Jackets do not package some picks to move up and grab a second first round pick, this would be a bold move that could pay big dividends. Otherwise, he's likely to go to somebody like Detroit, a franchise with a deep pool of talent and a lot of patience. This will be one to watch on draft day.

Guryanov Up Close

Here's a sampler of Guryanov's exploits at the 2015 U-18 WJC back in April, beginning with a nifty short-handed marker against the US squad.

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