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Posts tagged: Evgeny Grachev

Rangers With Five in Top 80 Prospects

Yesterday, Puck Prospectus released it’s Top 100 prospects, and it is nice to see four Rangers on this list, all within the Top 80. The five Rangers within the top 80 shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, as these are generally the top five prospects that we all want to see wearing Rangers blue in the very, very near future. What is very nice to see is that three of these prospects sit in the top 35, something that Rangers fans are not used to.

The highest rated prospect starts at #23, where Evgeny Grachev sits comfortably. Despite his off year in Hartford, the 19 year old LW has some of the highest potential in the Rangers farm system. What many Ranger fans forget is that Artem Anisimov had a rough start to his AHL career, but he came back and averaged a point per game the year after. AA is now one of our favorite rookies with some great potential. It isn’t far fetched to see Grachev follow that same route, assuming he figures out how to play without the puck.

Just two spots below Grachev, Wisconsin center Derek Stepan sits at #25. Stepan was one of the highly touted prospects in the system before the World Juniors. After captaining the US team to Gold while leading the tournament in scoring, his value skyrocketed. Stepan has all the tools to be a top six forward. The 20 year old center will be spending at least one more year at Wisconsin, where his Badgers were the Frozen Four runners-up in this year’s tournament. Stepan will also serve as an assistant captain next season for the Badgers.

Read more after the jump

Grachev Struggling in the AHL

The young, much hyped rookie winger Evgeny Grachev is struggling to get acquainted to the rigors of AHL play. After exploding on to the prospect scene last year with a 40-goal, 80-point season with the Brampton Battalion of the OHL, Grachev has just 12 goals and 26 points in his first season in the AHL. Grachev struggles to score goes are exacerbated by his inability to play defense.

According to Mitch Beck, of Howlings.net, who was interviewed by Jim Schmiedeberg and The Mouth of Blueshirt Banter, Grachev is struggling in all aspects of his game. Part of the problem could be that because of the hype that came with that 40-goal season. But, the kid is just 19 years old, so let’s hope this is just an aberration, and not the norm. Next year could be the most important of this young kid’s hockey career thus far.

Canadian Juniors:

  • Ethan Werek; Kingston Frontenacs, OHL: 57 GP, 30G, 34A, 68 PIM, +14
  • Chris Doyle; PEI Rocket/Victoriaville Tigres, QMJHL: 63 GP, 25G, 44A, 53 PIM, +3
  • Ryan Bourque; Quebec Remparts, QMJHL: 44GP, 19G, 24A, 20 PIM, +12
  • Roman Horak; Chilliwack Bruins, WHL: 66 GP, 21G, 26A, 39 PIM, +15
  • Sam Klassen; Saskatoon Blades, WHL: 67 GP, 3G, 27A, 98 PIM, +34
  • Tomas Kundratek; Medicine Hat Tigers, WHL: 65 GP, 2G, 33A, 62 PIM, +13

NCAA:

International:

  • Roman Psurny; HC Slovan Ustecti Lvi, CZ 1.Liga: 37 GP, 16G, 20A, 28 PIM, +23
  • David Kveton; HC Ocelari Trinec, CZ O2 Extraliga: 52 GP, 18G, 17A, 59 PIM, +17

AHL:

  • Bobby Sanguinetti: 54 GP, 7G, 28A, 22 PIM, -9
  • Evgeny Grachev: 70 GP, 12G, 14A, 14 PIM, -13
  • Ilkka Heikkenin: 62 GP, 7G, 28A, 14 PIM, +1
  • Chad Johnson: 17-16-2, 2.51 GAA, .911 SV%, 3 SO

Grachev Reassigned

Evgeny Grachev’s stay in NY was relatively short, as he was reassigned to Hartford after the win against Washington. Grachev was an emergency call-up in case the “upper body” injury to Ryan Callahan was serious enough to keep him out of the game. Grachev’s reassignment just means that he will have to wait until another injury, or until someone’s game goes to hell.

Grachev Called Up

As per Steve Zipay, Evgeny Grachev has been called up for the game tonight vs. Washington. He will probably replace Ryan Callahan, who suffered an upper body injury during practice this morning. If Grachev makes it to Washington by 7pm, it is assumed he will play.

Evgeny Grachev Sent to Hartford

As expected by most people, prospect-extraordinaire Evgeny Grachev was assigned to Hartford, following a loss in the preseason finale to Washington. Grachev played very well during the preseason, which is why he was the last cut to be made. This is no slight against Grachev, it is as simple as he will benefit greatly from a season in Hartford. You can expect him to be with the team next year, or even as soon as midseason this year.

The Rangers are now left with 22 players on the roster: 13 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goalies. The best part about this? They are under the cap, even with the spare parts. This will give the Rangers some flexibility with lineups and under-performing veterans (cough, albatross twins, cough). The lines are still up in the air, as they should be, but it will be interesting to see what coach John Tortorella does with Artem Anisimov and Enver Lisin, who both need to be on the top three lines to be given a chance to really utilize their talents.

Congrats to Lisin, Anisimov, Alexei Semenov, Matt Gilroy, and Michael Del Zotto, who played very well in the preseason and earned their spots on the roster.

Training Camp/Preseason Lessons

With training camp and preseason coming to a close, we are left with what looks to be the final version of the Rangers roster. In my initial 2009-2010 Rangers outlook, I had initially pegged one of Bobby Sanguinetti, Corey Potter, or Michael Sauer to be the seventh defenseman. My how things have changed.

Sauer was one of the first cuts in the preseason, his stay-at-home style doesn’t fit into the John Tortorella system. Expect him to get traded. Bobby Sanguinetti came into camp out of shape and really struggled to work back from that. He was the most recent cut, and there are rumors that the Rangers don’t have faith in him, and are shopping him around. Corey Potter seems to be the most logical choice at this moment to get a call up int he event of an injury, but he was part of the second round of cuts, before Sanguinetti was cut.

On the other side of the coin, you have Alexei Semenov. Semenov, invited to camp on a tryout, without a contract, came to camp in great shape, and has simply played his way on to the Ranger roster. Credit needs to go to the big defenseman, as he outplayed the aforementioned defensemen, and wrestled the starting job away from Sanguinetti (it was his to lose). You also have Michael Del Zotto, who at just 19, impressed everyone from the coach to the fans. He has given us a glimpse of what a powerplay quarterback can do. He has played so well that he forced the Rangers into giving him another look during the regular season. He now has nine more games to show he belongs, or else be returned to the OHL for the season.

Moving on to the forwards, fans expected Evgeny Grachev to play well in camp, considering his performance last year in the OHL. While he has played extremely well in the preseason, he will benefit from a year in Hartford, so expect him to be the final forward cut before the season starts. If he lights up that league, he will be one of the first call ups during the season.

A pleasant surprise was the newly acquired Enver Lisin, who came over from Hamilton Phoenix for Lauri Korpikosi. Lisin also has played his way into consideration for the roster, and leaves coach John Tortorella with an interesting issue. Lisin belongs on the top three lines, there’s no doubt about that. But, the top three lines seem to be set at the moment. The dilemma: do you put Lisin on the fourth line, getting five minutes a game, or send him to Hartford for regular shifts, at the risk that he bolts for Russia? More on this in another post.

With one last preseason game this weekend in Washington, look for the Rangers to give Grachev, Del Zotto, and Lisin more playing time to let them prove they belong on the NHL level.

Grachev Finished in OHL, Rangers Looking at Seidenberg?

This info courtesy of Beyond the Blueshirts and their Twitter page. Just note that this news is unconfirmed as of this moment.

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.

U-20 Rosters Set

The guys at Beyond the Blueshirts have the inside scoop on the rosters for the USA/Russia U-20 four-game series to be played in Lake Placid this year. The US roster has three Ranger prospects participating: Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, and Ryan Bourque. Kreider, the Rangers 1st round pick in 2009, and Stepan, the Rangers 2nd round pick in 2008, will both be participating in their first U-20 tryout. This will be Ryan Bourque’s (2009 3rd rounder) second go-round with the club.

It will be interesting to see how Kreider, who has never played against this level of competition before, fairs in this tryout. He is definitely skilled, but hasn’t had the chance to showcase it against all-world talent his age.

Notably left off the Russian team was OHL rookie of the year, and Rangers prospect-extraordinaire, Evgeny Grachev. This definitely wasn’t a slight to Grachev, and the logical reasoning is that the Rangers requested he be left off the roster for fear of injury, which really shouldn’t surprise anyone. I guess this means the club believes that Grachev may actually have a shot at making the big club next season. Personally, I think he goes to the OHL for another season, and then may actually spend a year in the AHL. No need to rush him.

Q&A with Evgeny Grachev

Alessandro Rosso over at HockeysFuture did a Q&A with Ranger prospect-extraordinaire Evgeny Grachev, and it’s definitely worth the read. Some highlights:

HF: The last couple of seasons are seeing some tension between the NHL and Russia because of some questionable moves from one country to another. What do you think about the current relationships between NHL and KHL regarding players’ transfers?

EG: I haven’t got the faintest idea about how the ties are going. And I have to say that I’m not interested in this argument since my plan is to play in America.

It’s good that his plan is to stay in the States, but I guess you have to expect them to say that for now.

HF: Can you compare your game last season and now?

EG: I can’t really do such a comparison. But I can say that I’ve added a lot of confidence and of course you don’t play around 100 games in a season for nothing. Every year I learn more and more about playing as a forward. After all I’ve played as forward only since I was 14.

I didn’t realize he had only been a forward for a few years. Considering how he tore up the OHL last year, things can only get better for him. Confidence is a huge thing too.

As of now, it looks like the Rangers struck gold with their third round pick last year, let’s hope his development continues. I still don’t see him making the team next season.

h/t to Mika Axisa for sending me this.

Dowzak Advances; Grachev Falls

This occured over the weekend, but due to Mother’s Day, we were unable to post until this morning. Evgeny Grachev, sitting out his second game in a row with the flu, watched his Brampton Battalion lose Game 5 in OT. Brampton lost the series 4-1.

Meanwhile, Tysen Dowzak and his Kelowna Rockets won Game 6 in similarly OT dramatic fashion 3-2, and took home the WHL Championship, winning the series 4-2. Dowzak was held off the scoreboard and finished even for the game, but his contributions were essential to Kelowna winning the series. Dowzak is a very big (6’5 212 lbs) stay-at-home defensemen, who has shown great awareness in his own end. At just 20 years old, He is still a long ways away from the NHL, but he should develop into a solid defenseman.

Congratulations to Dowzak. Up next for him and the Rockets, QMJHL champion Rimouski in the Memorial Cup playoffs, on Friday May 15.