As was the case last year with Nikita Scherbak, there's always the possibility that a Russian-born players will slip in the draft, despite possessing an elite skill set.
Now that the NHL and the KHL are nearing a transfer agreement, many of the classic worries will likely dissipate, however as we all know, transfer agreement or not, there's definitely the chance that teams will avoid a talented player such as Denis Guryanov, due to fear that he wouldn't want to come to North America. As we saw last year, Trevor Timmins isn't a big believer in the "Russian factor", which indicates that he probably wouldn't hesitate to pick Guryanov if he's available with the 26th overall pick.
Birthplace: Togliatti, Russia
Position: Right Wing
Heigth: 6’2" Weight: 185lbs
His greatest strength appears to be his skating, as he displays high end top speed, as well as elite acceleration. He likes to carry the puck, driving offense whenever he's on the ice. He played the majority of the season in the MHL, however he did have an eight game stint with his KHL club. He likes to use his powerful shot to confuse goalies, and he's not a stranger to setting up his teammates.
The big Russian winger is a speedy and skilled forward who has potent offensive ability. A very quick skater who can pick up steam in an instant and break plays open. Guryanov is a poised puck carrier who has a long reach and great hands to remain elusive to checkers. He has no problem transitioning the puck and moving the play around the offensive zone, even though he tries to tackle these tasks with a bit of selfishness. When Guryanov does see a passing lane, he will execute. He can find small windows of opportunity and is confident in hitting a streaking teammate’s stick. Guryanov has a good sense of the offensive zone, especially finding open ice. He’s not just a flash and dash player, he goes into corners, throws his body around and drags plays to the front of his net.
Guryanov is a left shooting right winger with an arsenal of impressive weapons at his disposal. A great skater, when the opportunity arises Guryanov showcases impressive acceleration and top speed. He likes to challenge the defensemen coming through the neutral zone and possesses a very quick release on a powerful wrister. Off the rush he becomes a double threat as he can beat defensemen wide or use his shot if given little space. His shots selection could be improved, as sometimes he seems content firing long range wristers instead of trying to attack the net like he shows to be capable of in other occurrences. Even if this season he has been showing more of a shoot-first mentality, Guryanov’s playmaking skills are more than adequate, like he shows when he promptly finds from peripheral areas teammates getting open in the slot..
Future Considerations: 24th
Hockey Prospect: 16th
Craig Button: 20th
Central Scouting, European Skaters: 7th
Bob McKenzie: 21st
It's tough to gauge where Guryanov will go come June 26th, due to his birth certificate.
As per usual, some scouts will discount him based on name alone, whereas others will ignore his birthplace and concentrate on his skills.
"I heard really good reports on him as far as his interviews at the combine in Buffalo. Not one scout I spoke to gave him a bad review. In fact, a few raved about him. I was really happy to hear that he’s a good kid" – Mark Edwards
"Typical F****** Russian." – NHL Scout
" For what it’s worth, the typical F***** Russian quote by an NHL Scout was made after the Five Nations tourney. Made me laugh, but the kid is really good so it fell on deaf ears as far as I was concerned." - Mark Edwards
"You know what passport he holds right? (said to Mark Edwards after he praised him for a one-timer during game action at the U18)" – NHL Scout
Just like with Montreal's first round pick last year, I'm not worried that Guryanov is a flight risk, seeing as he's shown absolutely no reason to doubt his desire to play in the NHL.
Of course, logically he shouldn't be available once the Habs make it the podium, but then again I said the same thing about Scherbak.