Vladimir Grudinin Scouting Report: 2022 NHL Draft #49

Vladimir Grudinin Scouting Report

Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2022 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Vladimir Grudinin Scouting Report.

Playing in the CSKA Moscow system, defenceman Vladimir Grudinin split time between the three major Russian leagues this year. He got in some time for the main KHL club, but in the games he did play, his ice time was limited. Grudinin had one assist in six regular-season games. He also played in seven playoff games as CSKA won the Gagarin Cup.  Grudinin also spent time in Russia’s second division, the VHL. In 12 games he scored one goal and two assists for three points. Playing against his age group in the MHL or Russian Junior League, Grudinin was dominant. He scored two goals and 13 points in 18 games. However, his play tailed off in the playoffs where he picked up just one assist in eight games.

Grudinin has spent plenty of time with the Russian junior teams. He won a silver medal at the 2021 IIHF Under-18 World Championships. Grudinin scored one goal and five points in seven games. He also played for Russia in the 2019-20 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. He helped the Russian team win the gold medal. Grudinin also made the World Junior Team this year but the tournament was cut short due to COVID.

Vladimir Grudinin Scouting Report

Left Defence — shoots Left
Born December 9th, 2003 — Angarsk, Russia
Height 5’10” — Weight 158 lbs [178 cm/72 kg]

Skating

In order for an undersized defenceman to succeed in the NHL, he will need to be a dynamic skater. This is certainly the case for Grudinin. His stride is powerful. While his top-end speed is merely slightly above average, Grudinin excels in all other areas of his skating. His first few steps and acceleration are very good, allowing him to win races to loose pucks. His ability to quickly change speeds is also a weapon when he is carrying the puck. It can fool opponents and allow Grudinin to create space. Grudinin also has elite edge work and agility. His mobility in all directions is outstanding. His strong crossovers allow him to move laterally. This helps him to walk the line and create passing and shooting lanes in the offensive zone. It also allows him to maintain good gap control.

Grudinin’s size is still a liability though. He has a low centre of gravity which helps. However, he really needs to put muscle on his frame. Grudinin can be overpowered by opponents in battles along the boards and in front of the net. He will need to bulk up significantly to play his style of game and be successful against men.

Offensive Game

Grudinin marries his skating with excellent puck control. This allows him to avoid forecheckers and skate the puck out of the defensive zone. He is also able to lead the rush and carry the puck through the neutral zone. Grudinin finds open space and generates efficient zone entries. Once there, he sets up on the blue line and can quarterback the play. He is poised with the puck, slowing things down as needed and finding the right play. He can move well laterally as well as make quick dekes with his soft hands. This helps Grudinin open up passing and shooting lanes. Once a teammate gets open, he can feather a pass through a tight passing lane. He can also throw a tape-to-tape saucer pass.

Grudinin loves to create offence by pinching in at the blue line. He keeps pucks in at the line and keeps possession in the offensive zone alive. He does not have the hardest point shot, but Grudinin gets it off quickly. He also does a good job of keeping the shot low and allowing his teammates to get in front of the net for screens, deflections, and rebounds. Grudinin likes to sneak in from the point and fire a wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circles. This helps him to be more effective as a goal scorer.

Defensive Game

Grudinin’s effort level in the defensive zone can not be questioned. He works extremely hard, maintaining good gap control and forcing opponents to the outside and away from dangerous scoring areas. He does a very good job of cutting down passes through the middle of the ice. Grudinin also has a quick stick that can poke check the puck away from an opponent. When a turnover is created, he is quick to transition up the ice. However, the lack of size is still an issue here. He can be pushed around by opponents. Grudinin has issues winning battles along the boards and in front of the net. He will need to add muscle to improve in these areas. That said, even with the added muscle, his lack of size and strength will always be an issue.

Projection and Comparison

Grudinin is the classic boom or bust prospect. At just 158 pounds, he is extremely undersized. There are questions if he will maintain his dynamic skating as he adds more muscle. Even then, he will always be undersized. There continue to be questions if his game will translate to the NHL. If he is able to transition effectively to the North American pro game, Grudinin would be a steal. His ability to create offence on the power play as well as at even strength is outstanding for his age. Grudinin is a bit of a long-term project as he is signed to play in Russia through the 2023-24 season. His game is reminiscent of Tyson Barrie. This is a stylistic comparison only though, and not one based on skill and ability.

Highlights

The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Vladimir Grudinin that are available on youtube and Twitter.

 

Check back tomorrow for our latest 2022 NHL Draft Article.

 

Vladimir Grudinin Scouting Report Main Photo: