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Going into the draft lottery, many were hoping that if the Habs didn’t win the top pick, they’d at least get the second pick to get Ivan Demidov.  They didn’t move up but they wound up with Demidov anyway as Montreal selected him with the fifth-overall pick on Friday night.


Right Wing
Shoots: Left
DOB: December 10, 2005
Height: 6’0
Weight: 192 lbs


Elite Prospects: 2
Future Considerations: 2
Daily Faceoff: 2
The Hockey News (Kennedy): 2
TSN (Bob McKenzie): 2
TSN (Craig Button): 2
NHL Central Scouting (Intl): 2
Sportsnet (Cosentino): 3
Recruit Scouting: 2
Dobber Prospects: 2
Draft Prospects Hockey: 3
Smaht Scouting: 2


Scouting Reports

Scouting reports are taken directly from the source; typos were not corrected.

Hockey Prospect: Demidov has special puck skills and is the best stickhandler in this draft class. He’s a highlight-reel machine with his ability to manipulate opponents and make them look silly on the ice. He excels in tight spaces with his elite stickhandling skills. He loves one-on-one confrontations and has never met a player he doesn’t think he can beat. When he plays in junior, he sometimes tries too hard to beat everyone on the ice with his quick, skilled hands. However, he has gotten better over time at adopting a more professional approach, even in his short KHL experience where he played a reserved but effective game.

Elite Prospects: Ivan Demidov is the most singularly skilled prospect in this year’s draft, and it might not even be all that close. He’s a human highlight reel. Even the most seemingly anodyne touches have the chance to turn into something special when the puck’s on his stick. And when Demidov is on the ice, there’s a better chance than not that’s the case.

Recrutes: Quite possibly the most skilled offensive player in this draft class, and that’s saying a lot considering the quality at the top of the draft. He was too good for Russian junior this season, but he’s part of an organization that buries its young talent. His stickhandling, elusiveness, and edge work are elite, and if he were allowed to come over to North America next season, he has the physical tools and competitiveness to play right away in the NHL. He has a year left on his contract – then he’ll be an NHLer.

McKeens: Demidov is a game-breaker. He has the skill to put his team on his back and drive up the score, and with the puck on his stick, he is extremely evasive and fascinating to watch. There’s nothing about his game that doesn’t scream top-line winger. Imagining him as a Nikita Kucherov-type player isn’t out of the question. He could become one of the most prolific playmakers in the NHL and, with improvements to his off-puck play, one of the best forwards in the league.

DraftPro: His shot may not be the most powerful, but it is still quick enough and accurate to get the goaltender off guard with his quick release as he understands the mechanics. His skating abilities are also masterclass as he has very strong lateral movement to shift around defenders like no tomorrow. He displays tremendous quick feet as even though the strides could be short here and there, it does not affect his acceleration due to him being very light.

Upside Hockey: Ivan Demidov is the flashiest, most exciting player in this year’s crop, and if the Draft were based on talent alone, he would be top-2 for sure. He is simply an electrifying game-breaker, with exceptional skill. The first pillar of Demidov’s game is his otherworldly puck skill and handling- he’s an absolute wizard with hands faster than his quick feet, the puck just sticks to him. He can deke around, or through multiple layers of opponents without looking like he’s even trying, much like the old adage, he “has the puck on a string”. It seems like when he’s out on the ice, he’s always around the puck, like there’s a magnet drawing them together- it just follows him around. Those same silky soft mitts can unleash a hard, heavy shot with a release as quick as a hiccup, and the precision to pick the smallest holes.

Recruit Scouting: Ivan Demidov is one of the most electric attackers in this draft. He has a very good skating ability in terms of agility, in-motion plays, and explosiveness. However, I think he needs to increase his speed to be able to really be an effective player with his skating at the NHL level. His shot is very good in terms of direction, power, and shot selection, but it really leaves me questioning the fact that he didn’t face KHL goalies and defensemen this year. His passing and vision are good and he is capable of creating danger.

Daily Faceoff: At a 2.00 point-per-game average, no U-19 player has ever had a more productive season in MHL history, including Nikita Kucherov back in 2011-12. Demidov then dominated in the playoffs before getting injured, but it was a highly successful season, all things considered. From a pure talent perspective, we’re seeing one of the most creative, speedy, and offensively dominant forwards in quite some time.

Scott Wheeler, The Athletic: His ability to get off the wall to the middle, either with the puck on his stick into traffic (though I think he falls back on his heel-to-heel skating a little too much), his manipulation one-on-one, his knack for dodging sticks and checks, and his passing through layers to the weak side of coverage are all very unique. And while his skating in straight lines doesn’t always look smooth, he’s still a fast skater and very shifty side to side. He’s got elite handling (though he can get himself into trouble trying to beat two or three guys in a crowd, he also often beats multiple guys in a sequence) and made more one-on-one skill plays this season (including, unabated, in the postseason) than almost any prospect I’ve scouted for any draft.

Corey Pronman, The Athletic: He has an excellent motor, attacks the net consistently and competes hard to win pucks. Demidov created scoring chances seemingly every shift this season. While he can run a power play when the game slows down, he makes a lot of plays on the move. He’s a powerful but awkward-looking skater though, who is a bit knock kneed and reliant on his edge work but gets around okay. He’s not the biggest winger as well so there is some question about how his game will translate to higher levels. I see a potential top-line winger who will score a lot and play a style of game that will appeal himself to coaches.

LWOS: There is a bit of a stigma towards Russian forwards that they have a tendency to be all offense. However with Ivan Demidov that is far from the case. The Russian works incredibly hard and plays with a high compete level at all times. He never seems to take a shift off and regardless of where the puck is, he battles. His size does give him a few difficulties defensively, but with a high IQ in both the offensive and defensive zone he is more than capable.


Demidov has one year left on his contract in Russia; whether he spends that in the KHL, MHL, or even VHL remains to be seen.  Assuming he doesn’t sign an extension, that would pave the way for him to potentially join the Habs as soon as late in the 2024-25 campaign.  If Demidov has a playoff run next season, that would push that to 2025-26 where he could very well push for a regular spot in Montreal’s lineup.