Top prospect Grebyonkin changes his name after joining Maple Leafs

Graham Montgomery
May 1, 2024  (6:42 PM)

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Nikita Grebenkin playing in a KHL game
Photo credit: X

Toronto Maple Leafs forward prospect Nikita Grebyonkin has officially joined the team after his KHL season ended. He won't play for the team this season, but he is still in the news as he has changed the way his name is spelled.

Toronto Maple Leafs reporter Kyle Cushman was the first to note the name change when it was announced that he would be wearing number 71 with the Leafs. In the picture, the nameplate clearly reads, "GREBENKIN" when it would traditionally be spelled, "GREBYONKIN."
Note that Nikita's surname was spelled «Grebyonkin» in Russia, but he's going with the anglicized «Grebenkin» upon arriving in North America. Changed his social media to it as well.

We see it often, Shestyorkin to Shesterkin was another recent example

Some fans were confused by this, but Kyle explained the change in an easy to digest manner. Essentially, the Russian language uses a different alphabet and it is not always easy to make a direct one-to-one translation for certain words, especially names. As such, some Russian players chose to change the way their name is spelled when they come to North America, as a way of making it easier for native English speakers to pronounce their names correctly.
Do we know why they chose to do this?

Like I said, it's very common for Russian players to do this. It has to do with the translation from Cyrillic letters to English

The Leafs just recently signed Grebenkin to a three-year, entry-level contract after his season with Metallurg in the KHL came to an end. The 21-year-old winger put up 19 goals and 41 points in 67 regular season games, followed up by 3 goals and 6 points in 23 playoff matches. He figures to slot into the Leafs bottom six next season. Not a bad development arc for a 5th round draft pick just two years ago.
SIGNED: The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed RW Nikita Grebenkin to a three-year, entry-level contract. Financial terms are currently undisclosed.

Grebenkin will report directly to the Maple Leafs.


MAY 1   |   568 ANSWERS
Top prospect Grebyonkin changes his name after joining Maple Leafs

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