Current Team: Shawinigan Cataractes, QMJHL
Date of Birth: April 14, 1997
Place of Birth: Portland, Oregon
Weight: 187 lbs
Dennis Yan hasn't taken the normal route to the NHL Draft. Yes, he plays in CHL Juniors after being born in the United States and spending time with the USNTDP. But, born to Russian parents in Portland, Oregon, he moved to Russia at an early age where he learned the game of hockey. He's a forward with some decent size, and a near-elite scoring knack with the puck on his stick. However, his defensive game leaves a lot to be desired, and that to go with increased size and strength will be his biggest hurdles to making an impact in the NHL.
In his first year with the Cataractes, Yan put up 33 goals and 64 points and added another seven goals in eight playoff games. He’s a natural goal scorer with a lightning quick release and pinpoint accuracy. The finesse he shows is consistent from shift to shift. Yan’s hands are silky smooth which gives him time and space to use his shot. His skating is crisp and agile making him a speedy winger.
I’ve liked what I’ve seen in his forechecking and he likes to create pressure, but oftentimes I’ve seen him coast when backchecking and in his own zone. His overall defensive game is what he needs to work on most. Another area of improvement is learning not to shy away from physical play. Yan is not bulky, but he does have decent size for a 6’1 winger. - Shawn Reznik, The Hockey Writers
So in a way, Yan, who also played organized hockey in Russia, has been literally run through an international gauntlet of instruction. The result is an bonafide skilled forward who is one of the 2015 crop’s best pure goal scorers. Yan does not necessarily play the cliche’d "North American game"; he’s a speedy finesse winger with a world class wrist shot who thinks offense first. The benefits of playing here seem to relate more towards the maturity and humility inherent in most migratory young players who are thrust into different learning environments. Nevertheless, acutely watching him reveals an offensive talent who can think the game and not let many things distract him. While his wrist shot and IQ are his most noticeable attributes, he is a highly-reliable and inventive attacking player during 3-on-2’s and the undervalued (and oft-butchered) 2-on-2 situation — give him enough room and he’ll wire a wrist shot through a screen while cutting against the grain. He’s not a dump-and-chase player although he can be highly effective on the forecheck, and when he gathers the puck, he’s shown to thread the needle through some tight spaces. Yan’s compete level is can reach a crescendo but then really crash down to the point of disinterest. All accounts indictae, however, that he does like to compete and has a strong desire to improve every aspect of his game, not only making him coachable, but worthy of larger responsibilities down the road. - Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst
From a strictly offensive standpoint, Yan has to be considered one of the most dynamic players in the age group as a result of his exceptional skating, vision, and sheer sniper’s mentality. Currently playing up with the U18 group, Yan is a Top 5 scorer in the Midget Major loop with Belle Tire after a tremendous season with the Lambton Jr. Sting as an underage player last year. Yan’s finishing ability would allow him to be a goal scorer as early as 16, but it appears that Yan may be destined for Ann Arbor and the US National Team program. - The Scouting Report
A Good Fit in Columbus?
Well, you can never have enough pure goal scoring in your system. He'd have to get stronger and really commit to playing more two-way to fit in the current system, but he's got the pure goal-scoring talent that teams covet. That he'll be around where the Jackets have many picks in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, don't be surprised to see him get a long look from the Jackets' brass.
Yan In Action