New Jersey Devils: Does Arseni Gritsyuk Have Kirill Kaprizov Potential?

Russian Olympic Committee's Arseniy Gritsyuk (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)
Russian Olympic Committee's Arseniy Gritsyuk (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images) /

Right off the bat, we will tell you this conversation is happening way too early. However, Arseni Gritsyuk has been a man gaining a lot of buzz this weekend due to the fact he scored the game-winning shootout goal to send Russia to the gold medal game at the Beijing Olympics. The moment was huge, and Gritsyuk stepped up. Here in the United States, most of the talk surrounding the New Jersey Devils is focused on trades. That’s why a conversation about Arseni Gritsyuk’s trade value had us very interested.

Obviously, Gritsyuk’s stock is far beyond the fifth-round pick they originally spent to get him in the 2019 NHL Draft. He’s been phenomenal this season. He moved into the top five of our Top 25 Prospect Rankings. There could be a very bright future for Gritzyuk, especially how he would fit in with the Devils as a whole. The Devils are a little weak at the wings when it comes to top flight prospects and players. They have Jesper Bratt on the Devils and Alexander Holtz with the Utica Comets. Outside of that, there are a lot of question marks.

Gritsyuk could theoretically make it to North America next season. The Devils would welcome him if he wants a chance to make the NHL team during training camp. However, he’s not a guarantee to make the roster at this point.

The Devils likely want to make a move at the trade deadline, and if they want a premium asset, teams are going to ask about Gritsyuk’s availability. He’s been great in the KHL this season, and he earned his way on the Russian national team for the Olympics. He has 28 points in the KHL for Avangard Omsk and three points in five Olympic games. He’s clearly playing well with his opportunities.

This has some saying he is untouchable in all trades. Some are pointing to Kirill Kaprizov. The comparisons make a little bit of sense. Gritzyuk was taken with the 129th overall pick. Kaprizov was taken 135th. However, there are few comparisons after that. Kaprizov already had KHL experience in his draft year. Gritsyuk was still in the MHL. He actually didn’t make his KHL debut for over a year.

They are in the right spot when it comes to their 20-year-old season. When he was 20, Kaprizov scored 42 points for CSKA Moskva. Gritzyuk has 28 points in 39 games. He’s just slightly off Kaprizov’s pace despite being in a different situation.

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Here’s what you should get out of this. Kaprizov was a much better starting point than Gritsyuk. Most thought Kaprizov could be pretty good, but he always had a question about whether he could be signed and his size was always a question. Gritsyuk’s size was also a question. There are some similarities here, but let’s not get our hopes up. If a team demands Gritsyuk as the centerpiece of a trade, the Devils should at least listen. However, it’s not like he has little value. The only deal that makes sense is one that makes the Devils immensely better now and for a minimum of three years in the future.