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Florida Panthers officially sign forward Grigori Denisenko to entry-level contract

Russian prospect signs on the line which is dotted

2020 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship, final: Canada vs Russia Photo by Peter Kovalev\TASS via Getty Images

It’s official... The Florida Panthers announced today that they have signed one its top prospects, Grigori Denisenko to an entry-level contract.

The Panthers selected Denisenko, a highly-skilled forward from Russia, with the 15th overall pick at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, held at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Denisenko’s shiny new deal kicks in for the 2020-21 season and runs for two years after that.

General Manager Michael Dale Tallon had this to say:

“We are thrilled to officially sign Grigori to an entry-level deal for the upcoming 2020-21 season. He is a highly skilled and hard-working young player who has a bright future in our organization. Although he will be ineligible to play games for us during the 2020 postseason, we look forward to having him challenge for a position on the Panthers roster next season.”

This past season, Denisenko continued to a) find his way in the KHL and b) excel against his peer group, which is probably a better indicator of his true value as a 19-year-old prospect.

In 38 games with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL, Denisenko scored 6 goals and added 6 assists. Relatively modest totals, but better than his 6 points (4G/2A) in 25 games with the club last season. He played in all six of Lokomotiv’s postseason games and notched a goal in the first round loss to Jokerit.

After a winning a bronze medal at the last year’s World Junior Championship, Denisenko captained Russia to silver this year while matching his 2019 output of nine points, which tied him for sixth in scoring in the illustrious tournament.

Denisenko also scored four goals in three games for Yaroslavl’s winning junior team at the Junior Club World Cup this past summer.

Welcome to the fold, Grigori. We officially look forward to seeing you on the ice next season. Whenever that is...