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Devils Prospect Recently Dominating in KHL

Devils prospect, Arseni Gritsyuk, has collected 20 points in his last 13 games in the KHL.

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New Jersey Devils
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

If you have your notifications on for the Hockey News Hub’s X (formerly Twitter) account, you’re likely seeing New Jersey Devils prospect Arseni Gritsyuk‘s name often. If not, it may not be easy to keep up with the Devils’ KHL prospect.

Gritsyuk (22) is playing the best hockey of his professional career overseas. Perhaps the fact that Gritsyuk is skating for one of the top teams in the KHL, SKA Saint Petersburg, has something to do with it. SKA holds an impressive 33-16-3 record, second overall in the entire league. Regardless, the fact of the matter is that Gritsyuk is thriving with a talented group around him.

It sounds like that could work at some point in New Jersey, too.

In 39 games this season, Gritsyuk’s totaled 34 points (18 goals and 16 assists). He’s not quite a point-per-game player, however, a closer look at the details shows Gritsyuk’s evidently found another level recently.

Although it’s now broken, Gritsyuk put together an impressive point streak over nine games from Dec. 30th to Jan. 19th, collecting 13 points by scoring five goals and eight assists. Gritsyuk went scoreless in the next game following the nine-game point streak. However, he responded with an incredible five-point game collecting a goal and four assists versus Barys.

In Gritsyuk’s last 13 games, the Devils prospect has collected 20 points, scoring eight goals and 12 assists.

The 22-year-old forward’s recent performance has earned him some top KHL honors. Gritsyuk was recognized as the top forward for the 20th week of the KHL season collecting three goals and seven points in three games for Saint Petersburg. More recently, Gritsyuk earned the honor as the KHL’s top player from weeks 18-20.

Gritsyuk plays alongside former NHLer Alex Galchenyuk on SKA’s second line.

Gritsyuk has not yet been recognized as one of the Devils’ top prospects. To be fair, he was competing with the likes of names such as Simon Nemec and Luke Hughes at the beginning of the season, former first-round picks in the top five of their respective drafts. That doesn’t even include second-round selections Seamus Casey and Lenni Hameenaho who have each impressed in their respective leagues.

However, Gritsyuk’s recent play might suggest he should be considered a little closer to the top of New Jersey’s prospect list rather than the middle of the pack.

Gritsyuk’s toolkit is summarized as a player with a dangerous shot who has the knack for separating himself from his defenders at top speeds.

The transition from the KHL to the NHL game doesn’t always convert seamlessly. We’ve seen players such as Kirill Kaprizov figure it out. Others such as Nikita Gusev struggle and make their way back overseas.

However, if he can figure out how to utilize his speed and dangerous shot on this side of the pond, he’d certainly be a welcomed addition to the Devils.

Gritsyuk’s KHL contract which started this year is for two seasons. His agent, Shumi Babaev, told NJ.com this summer that Gritsyuk plans to head to North America once he fulfills his KHL contract. His North American arrival is projected to be in the 2025-26 season.

The question becomes, does GM Tom Fitzgerald wait out Gritsyuk’s timeline? Or, does he utilize Gritsyuk’s ascending value to acquire more immediate help?

Regardless, it looks like the Devils found a diamond in the rough in the fifth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft in Gritsyuk.

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