Prospect Watch: Grigori Denisenko is One-Step Away from Being A Full-Time NHLer

Grigori Denisenko is one phone call away from establishing a full-time NHL role.

Denisenko, a former 15th overall pick was claimed off waivers from the Florida Panthers earlier this season. This came after the winger was placed on waivers as Florida attempted to send him back to the American Hockey League. 

After arriving in Vegas, Denisenko's stay was short-lived as the Knights opted to place him back on waivers for reassignment. This time he went unclaimed.

Ever since his arrival to Henderson (AHL), Denisenko has seemed to find another level to his game, a more balanced offensive approach. The Russian forward has excelled in the offensive category leading the team in both points and assists. The youngster is on pace for a new career-high with 22 points in 24 AHL games. 

For Knights fans, Denisenko is just one injury away from being called up to the NHL squad. And given the fact that the Knights are cap-crunched, if Denisenko finds his game he could lock up a decent role on a stacked Knights top-12.

The Past:

The former first-round draft has had the spotlight since his early days when he played for both the Russian National Team and his club Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. 

Early on in his career, it was clear that Denisenko was always one set ahead of his competition. This was apparent through his rapid development in the Russian hockey system. Denisenko even made his KHL (professional) debut as a 17-year-old amid his team's playoff run. The youngster suited up for six games recording three points in his stint.

"A hard-nosed forward with high-end skill. Top-line upside but some risk as well." - Dobber Prospects

But ever since his transition to the North American ice; the forward has yet to establish a clear role in both the NHL and AHL. The forward spent his last three seasons mainly playing for the Charlotte Checkers, the AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers. Denisenko's play was quite underwhelming as in 101 career games with the Checkers' he only recorded 63 points. Denisenko has also seen brief action in the NHL suiting up in 26 games playing a low-minute, fourth-line role.