Columbus Blue Jackets Draft candidate at 4th overall, Russian winger Ivan Demidov could be a big steal

The Blue Jackets hold the fourth overall pick at next month's NHL Draft. Should Ivan Demidov drop into their laps, they would be wise to take a swing. This kid can play.
SKA Hockey Club player, Ivan Demidov (11) seen in action...
SKA Hockey Club player, Ivan Demidov (11) seen in action... / SOPA Images/GettyImages
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Ivan Demidov destroyed Russia's top junior league this year, and his stock just keeps on rising.

In 30 MHL games this season, Demidov scored 23 goals and 60 points - a nifty points-per-game average of exactly 2. In 17 playoff games, he added 11 goals and 28 points before being injured.

He can certainly score goals in a variety of ways, but he's an even better passer; which makes his team a threat to score any time he's on the ice.

Demidov isn't the biggest guy in the world at 5'11", around 170 pounds. And, like a lot of other offensively gifted wingers, his defensive game needs a lot of refinement.

But as an offensive weapon, the sky really is the limit here. He doesn't have crazy high end speed, but he's an agile skater who knows how to turn his body and create time and space for himself.

HIs timing offensively is as good as I've seen in recent years, and his hockey IQ is very high. I've seen the comparisons to players like Kirill Kaprizov, and I can see why.

Personally, I'd compare Demidov's style more favorably to Artemi Panarin or Lucas Raymond though. He's not the sort of flashy, high pace player that Kaprizov is.

He's more of a cerebral assassin, able to control the pace of play with the puck on his stick, and then make a dangerous play seemingly out of nothing.

The sky really is the limit for him offensively. I think he can be a first line winger in the NHL in short order. The big question here would be, how quickly can you get him to North America?

If he were playing in the CHL or the NCAA, I think the gap between first and second overall wouldn't be as vast as many might assume this year. Ivan Demidov is that good.