2015 NHL Draft Profile #55: Dennis Yan

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TopShelfProspectsAmerican born, Dennis Yan moved to Russia as a child (7 years old) and spent much of his youth playing hockey there.  He did come back to North America as a teen and has played for the United States National Development Under 17 team last year.  He also played for Team USA in the Ivan Hlinka Tournament (where he put up 8 points in 5 games and won Bronze) and at the January 2014 Under 17 World Hockey Challenge where he won gold.  After being selected 8th overall by Shawinigan in the 2014 CHL Import Draft, Yan put up 33 goals and 64 points in 59 games for the Cataractes in the regular season, and added seven goals and eight points in seven playoff games.  He has been drafted in the KHL draft, going 66th overall to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in 2014.

Dennis Yan

Left Wing — shoots Left
Born Apr 14 1997 — Portland, OR
Height 6.02 — Weight 184 [188 cm/83 kg]

Dennis Yan is a pure sniper. He has a tremendous wrist shot and release, along with the soft hands needed to finish on rebounds, tip-ins, and dekes in close to the net. Yan has the hockey sense to find openings in the offensive zone to get off his quick wrister or a one-timer. His vision and passing are decent, but its his goal scorer’s touch that really stands out. Yan has very good puck handling ability. He can stick handle in a phone booth and uses a wide variety of moves to make plays. He also has good size at 6’2″ and has the tools to be a power forward, as he loves initiating physical contact and getting in on the forecheck. However, he does really need to bulk up and add to his frame. While he loves to initiate contact, he sometimes seems tentative when he is on the receiving end of a hit though. Yan could stand to be more courageous and take a hit to make a play in both ends of the ice.

Dennis Yan is a strong skater. He has very good speed and acceleration. He can drive by a defender in an instant with his quick change of pack, if a defender does not respect his speed off the rush. When defenders do respect his speed, he can slow down quickly and use them as a screen as he fires his hard, accurate wrist shot. Yan also has very good agility and edgework. He can slip past defenders if given even the smallest of openings. Yan must work on his balance though. He is knocked off the puck a bit too easily, and loses board battles. This area of his game can be greatly strengthened by adding some muscle to the lower part of his frame.

Dennis Yan needs real work on the defensive aspects of his game. He does not show the same intensity on the backcheck as he does on the forecheck, and will need to learn to support the defense with back pressure. He also needs to get better at positioning in his own end. Yan also has a tendency to fly the zone, not setting up in position to do a proper breakout, but instead streaking away and looking for the long breakaway pass. He will need to get some serious work with his defensive coaches, and work on bringing a consistent effort level game to game or could see himself stapled to the bench by defensive minded coach.

Dennis Yan has the skills to be an effective second line NHLer, but still has some serious developping to do before he gets there. Adding strength and working on his defensive game are keys. Yan’s game is reminiscent of former NHLer Andrei Kostitsyn, though this is a style comparison only and not one based on talent.

Below are some highlights of Dennis Yan in action.

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