After his first full-time season in the KHL with Lada Togliatti, Russian forward Denis Gurianov was signed by the Dallas Stars to an ELC after dissolving his contract with his former team, as he announced last year.
Recently, Gurianov talked with Alexander Rogulev of rsport.ru mostly about the Stars and his expectations for the 2015-16 season.
* For the original rsport.ru article by Alexander Rogulev, click here.
“Dallas is one of the top NHL teams,” Gurianov told Rogulev in his native Russian. “No one is going to give you a spot in the lineup even before you get to such a great team. You have to deserve such a spot working and playing well. Most likely I’ll have to gather experience in the farm team, but I am not scared about it. Of course younger players, without KHL experience, hardly will get any success. But if it was easy, then everyone would play in the NHL.”
“Of course I want to play in the NHL as fast as possible,” Gurianov explained. “But you have to play at a necessary level. If you aren’t on that level yet, you have to play in the farm team to achieve it.”
Gurianov also explained that he is following Valeri Nichushkin, to whom he was often compared in the past. “I followed Valeri Nichushkin’s career. He plays for the Stars since he was 18. If I’ll be able to play for the Stars when I’ll be 19, then I’ll be very happy. Otherwise I’ll just work hard to try to get to the NHL.”
At the 2017 WJC, that will start next December in Toronto and Montreal, Gurianov is expected to have a big role for the Russians. “In a few days I’ll fly to Sochi to play at the U20 Black Sea Cup, we’ll have some tough camps there, and will also play three exhibition games. I want to show my best game there, and to demonstrate that I’m good enough to play at the WJC.”
At the 2016 Black Sea Cup Team Russia will ice two teams, and will play a three-day tournament with national teams of Latvia and Finland. In 2015, the two Russian teams were joined by Team Slovakia and Team Belarus. In the end, Russia-2 won the tournament, and Gurianov was the top scorer with five goals and six points in three games.
“Playing at the WJC for the national team is the dream of every Russian player,” Gurianov added. “If you want to achieve anything in hockey, you have to win the gold medal at the WJC, it’s a sort of hockey exam. This is why my goal is not only to play in the NHL as soon as possible, but also to represent Russia at the WJC and win the gold medal.”
At this point, Gurianov is definitely not ready to play in the NHL, as he enjoyed limited success in the KHL in the 2015-16 season with four goals scored in 47 regular season games and failing to get top six minutes, in spite of starting the season with big expectations and many scoring chances. He also didn’t make the cut to skate at the 2016 WJC in Helsinki, Finland.