Prospect Sergey Tolchinsky remains on New York’s radar

July 23, 2013, by

Undrafted in June, Tolchinsky could become one of the first members of his class to sign with an NHL team

After turning heads at the Rangers’ post-draft Prospect Development Camp, 18-year-old Sergey Tolchinsky attended Carolina’s camp last week and put on another show.

The Soo Greyhound was one of the highest-rated prospects by independent scouting services to go undrafted in June, but since then he’s made a lot of teams look foolish.  Now, it appears that Tolchinsky has both the Rangers and Hurricanes – the only two teams with which he’s eligible to sign – competing for his services.

Tolchinsky was outperformed perhaps only by 2013 third-round choice Anthony Duclair at New York’s camp, yet the Blueshirts decided not to offer Tolchinsky a contract.  New York’s reasoning for hesitating wasn’t wrong – after all 30 teams passed on the 5-8, 160-pound forward through seven rounds of the draft, turning around and committing to a three-year Entry Level contract for the same player a week later based on his performance in a few drills and scrimmages would have been rash.  The Rangers have also successfully signed players that impressed at their camp months and even years later, so rushing to move on Tolchinsky may not have felt necessary at the time.  And finally, New York was preparing for free agency and is currently at 45 contracts out of 50, pending new deals for Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello.

But it’s becoming more clear that Tolchinsky is a bona fide prospect and that his stock is quickly rising around the league.  Tolchinsky was widely regarded as the best player at Carolina’s camp and drew high praise from coach Kirk Muller: “He was probably the biggest surprise or explosive guy this week that really made people look at him.”

Those comments indicate that Carolina is prepared to have a conversation about extending its own offer to Tolchinsky.  There’s some pressure on the ‘Canes to move quickly, within the next few weeks, because apparently Tolchinsky promised to play with the Rangers at September’s Traverse City Tournament, according to Carolina GM Jim Rutherford.  The Rangers are likely looking at that week as a better gauge of Tolchinsky’s game and it could have been New York’s plan all along to see if Tolchinsky also excelled in the tournament before offering him a contract.

Tolchinsky’s stated preference is to sign with an NHL team this summer and it seems likely that he’ll get an offer from at least one of these teams.  If nothing else, the still-growing Russian has improved his draft stock for 2014 markedly.

Categories : Prospects


  1. Walt says:

    A smurf isn’t what we need at this time. Also, after the crap that Kovi pulled on NJ, I’d be gun shy of any Russian.

    If the team thinks that this kid will be worth a look at, well, maybe the tournament would be the ideal location for him to prove himself.

    The obvious question, why was his stock so low that no NHL team wanted to waste a draft pick on him?

    • Alex says:

      Whats the harm in signing him? It’s not like we’re giving him a roster spot right away. Just gives us options for the future. And he’s been playing in the OHL so I wouldnt be worried about him jumping ship to Russia.

    • Kevin says:

      Unfair to lump him in like that, Tolchinsky has been training in North America since he was 12, chose to play in the Ontario League over Russia. The NHL is his dream.
      And I think unsurprisingly, teams were scared off by his spindly 5-8, 160 pound frame. But he’s changed minds pretty quickly this summer.

    • Chris F says:

      Kovalchuck jumped ship on an organization that was being choked out by his own contract. He did the Devils a favor long-term. How do his actions in any way relate to Russian players at large? We’re supposed to stop scouting Russians because one Russian player broke contract (without a peep in protest from the organization’s management, I might add).


      • Walt says:

        Kovei wasn’t the first to pull that crap, what about Rudalov? Even Ovie was talking like that during the lock out, so it woulkdn’t suprise me to see other Russians follow suit!

        • Spozo says:

          Malkin deserted his team in Russia and went in to hiding to get out of the country so he could come play in the NHL.

          • Walt says:

            Where did you read this??? I find it hard to believe!

            • Spozo says:

              This is the best article I can find that gives you an idea of what happened. Basically Malkin was drafted by the Pens but was still under contract to play another season for his Russian club. I couldn’t find the exact article but I distinctly remember an ESPN article that said Russian officials don’t know where he is and then like a week later he popped up in th US. Check out his Wikipedia under the “transfer dispute” section. The Russian club at one point took his passport to keep him in the country.

              This espn article talks about it a little


  2. Randy says:

    As difficult as most Russian stars are to deal with, I would gladly welcome one to the team in a few years. While we have seen players like Nik Zherdev play for the Rangers and disappoint with his lack of work ethic, we have also seen Russian players like Artem Anisimov who became a fan favorite. The Rangers always lack goal scoring ability, and these Russian kids simply have ridiculous hands and speed, and can provide the offense that the Rangers are missing. I think it is smart to hold off on giving the Tolchinsky kid a contract until after the Traverse City tournament. He has already impressed with his talent and offense, but now he has to prove that he can be a game breaker on a bigger stage, and more importantly, a team player.

  3. SalMerc says:

    Never a bad idea to add talent to the overall organization. As this will not affect any budget or salary cap, why not?

    • Kevin says:

      Would put NYR at 48 contracts out of 50, pretty tight

      • Tim B says:

        They could trade Jason Wilson & Ryan Bourque. Wilson needs to go through waivers anyway according to NHL 13. :). Bourque is a waste of a contract. People playing on AHL contracts might have a better chance that Bourque & Wilson. Bourque is like Jyri Niemi. Probably career AHLers that should be on AHL contracts. Cant hurt to get a pick or two right? Plus what if the Rangers make a blockbuster like Rick Nash and dont have enough contracts spots where they had to add Delisle to the deal in order for it to go through? Also cant hurt if they wanna sign a free agent like they tried to do with Arnott.

        • Ray says:

          Generally you can’t trade players like Wilson or Niemi. Even if he leaves hockey completely, he eats up one of your 50 contracts. So why would anyone take him off your hands and get stuck? Bourque may have trade value though.

      • Ray says:

        The Rangers also tendered a contract to Brandon Mashinter and presumably are trying to sign him. Mashinter and Tolchinsky would make 49.

        OTOH, the Rangers are going to be over the salary cap and I think they’ll have to move a forward or two.

      • Chris A says:

        Wouldn’t this kid’s contract be eligible to “Slide” meaning he would only count towards the 50 contracts if he played over 10 games for the Rangers in 2013-14?

        • Dave says:

          The sliding of a contract only applies to when the 3 year ELC kicks in. The player would still count under 50 contracts.

          • Ray says:

            I don’t think that’s right. Last year the Rangers ended up with 51 contracts, but Michael St. Croix did not count against the 50 because he was playing in juniors (and was not over-age). I think Tolchinsky would count against the 50 during training camp, but once he was sent down, the roster slot would open up.

            So the signing limit shouldn’t be an issue – at least for this year.

          • Jared says:


            Contracts that slide don’t count towards the 50 contract limit.

  4. Mikeyyy says:

    The nhl isn’t just about size. It’s a big part of the equation but not the only one.

  5. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    Is Stepan signed yet?

  6. bernmeister says:

    He’s undersized.

    But if we move Ryan Bourque for a pick and we sign him for cheap to start, we can see if he turns into the exception to the rule.