Standing at a sturdy 5’11” and weighing 168 pounds, Ivan Demidov has been creeping up draft boards of NHL general managers and scouts for months. A versatile player comfortable playing both right-wing and center, Demidov brings a unique blend of skill, creativity, and competitiveness to the table.
A Flashy Force on the Ice
While Demidov may not be the standout star of his class, his presence on the ice is unmistakable. He is a human highlight reel, combining his silky smooth handling skills with impeccable shooting and playmaking ability. His style can help remind you of the flair seen in players like Jack Hughes, but with his own distinct twist. Demidov’s escapability and agility, particularly on his inside edges, complement his puck-handling prowess, allowing him to weave magic on the ice and consistently create scoring opportunities.
What makes Demidov’s style so captivating is his blend of high-end skill and sheer unpredictability. His lateral movements and forehand maneuvers can destabilize the most disciplined defenses, and his ability to keep the puck on a string even at full speed is a sight to behold.
Competitiveness and Hockey Sense
Beyond his flashy skills, Demidov possesses a competitive spirit that makes him a reliable asset in all three zones of the rink. Despite recent injury setbacks, which have unfortunately sidelined him for some time, his potential remains untapped. Though limited, his time in the KHL showcased his high hockey IQ, strong skating, and exceptional vision – indispensable traits in a core team player.
While there is room for improvement in his straight-line skating stride, his agility and ability to create plays are indisputable. He possesses that rare, game-breaking skill coupled with a relentless motor, qualities that have him consistently dominating the puck and dazzling with high-end dekes.
The Centre-Wing Dynamo
Demidov’s time playing center has honed his ability to read and process on-ice situations, using his vision to execute timely and well-placed passes.
From a stylistic perspective, Demidov’s play is laden with creativity. His quick hands and intelligent decision-making with the puck set him apart. His ability to beat players with a stutter-step move is a testament to his deceptive skills, and his shooting technique is equally impressive. Demidov’s release is not only powerful but also cunning – he has a knack for lulling goaltenders into a false sense of security before striking unpredictably.
Scouts are particularly enamored with his release – it’s not just about the power but the intelligence with which he employs it. This combination of skills makes him a difficult player for any defense to anticipate and counter.
Translatability to the NHL
Demidov’s overall package is highly translatable in terms of his NHL-level potential. His blend of skating, shooting, and play-reading skills are already at an elite level, and his size is not a concern in the modern, speed-centric NHL. He is as electrifying a prospect as they come, with a game built on elite creativity, escapability, and puck skills.
Maturity Beyond His Years
Playing with older groups during his junior career has endowed Demidov with a maturity and toughness that belie his age. At 17, he already displays the speed, playmaking abilities, and deceptive skills to overpower and confuse even the most experienced defenses and goaltenders.
Ivan Demidov is not just another player rising through the ranks but a phenomenon in the making. With his exceptional skills, competitive spirit, and innate hockey sense, he is poised to become a significant force in the world of hockey. His journey is one to watch closely as he continues to develop and refine his game, potentially being drafted as high as second overall in the 2024 NHL draft.