Evgeny Grachev’s time in the OHL is over. The Rangers have informed the Brampton Battalion that they will not be returning him to juniors next season. If the 19-year old Grachev does not make the Rangers out of camp, which is still a very strong possibility, he will be in the AHL with the Wolfpack to start the season. My bet is still AHL.
For those of us keeping track, the AHL has an age restriction of 20 years old. This rule only applies to North American players, and European players who were drafted out of the CHL. Grachev was drafted out of Russia, thus this rule does not apply to him.
Initially, I was surprised the Rangers are doing this. The kid is 19 and could definitely learn a lot from another season in Brampton. However, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Grachev has shown he is a class above the junior level, and it’s time to show it at the AHL level. Hartford, with Anisimov probably headed to the NHL, will need a front line scorer, and Grachev is now their man for this season. Hopefully, if all goes well, the Rangers won’t have to rush him through the AHL, and it will allow him to adapt to the increased speed and intensity of the AHL game.
I’m looking forward to seeing Grachev on a line with Gaborik, or Callahan, in the future. That will be fun to watch.
In other news, the Rangers are apparently interested in Dennis Seidenberg, the 28 year old defenseman who played with Carolina last year. He has some offensive touch, but was a -9 with the Canes last year. He would be the 5th defenseman, which means the Rangers aren’t all that content with starting two rookie defensemen every night.
They have the cap room to match his $1.2 million salary from last season, which leaves about $3.2 million in cap room for Brandon Dubinsky, a 13th forward and a 7th defenseman. If the rumors are true, and Dubinsky will play for his qualifying offer, then the Rangers are in good shape cap-wise for this season.
I know, I’m shocked too.