Toronto Maple Leafs Sign Nikita Grebyonkin to ELC

Metallurg Hockey Club player, Nikita Grebyonkin (71) seen in...
Metallurg Hockey Club player, Nikita Grebyonkin (71) seen in... / SOPA Images/GettyImages

It has been reported that the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Russian forward Nikita Grebyonkin to a three-year entry-level contract, starting immediately.

Grebyonkin, 21, had his contract mutually terminated with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL three days early from the original end date of April 30th. This makes him eligible to become a "black ace" similar to recently signed Cade Webber.

Originally drafted 135th overall in the fifth round in 2022, Grebyonkin has vastly exceeded expectations since then. He won the Alexei Cherepanov award for rookie of the year in the 2022-23 season, after scoring 26 points in 52 games, playing the majority of the season on loan to Amur Khabarovsk where he produced all 26 points in 45 games.

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Toronto Maple Leafs Sign Nikita Grebyonkin To ELC

This past season, he rejoined Metallurg and saw a jump in production as he was able to work his way into a top-six role with the club throughout the year. In 67 regular season games, he scored 19 goals and 22 assists for 41 points and followed it up in the playoffs with 6 points in 23 games en route to a Gagarin Cup win. 

Unfortunately, his role with the club diminished as the post-season wore on but it was still a successful sophomore campaign all things considered.

Grebyonkin is a fun player to watch, possessing high end puck skills and playmaking ability, complimented by a strong two-way game.

He has also made improvements to his shot to round out his game and was a large factor in his 10 goal jump this season. Given his toolkit, he should be able to translate his game to a smaller ice surface in North America well. He possesses NHL-ready size, listed at 6-2 and 192lbs which should help in his transition.

Looking ahead, he likely starts his NHL career in the American Hockey League with the Toronto Marlies next season.

Hopefully, he can work his way into a call-up position by season’s end or sooner and become a day one NHLer the following year.


A similar path to Pontus Holmberg’s progression. Beyond that, he should be able to carve out at least a secondary scoring role in the middle-six. But for now, the Leafs organization has inked a solid addition to their prospect pipeline and he should be a contributor at some pro-level out of the gate.