On Yegor Rykov playing next season in Russia in the KHL

Yesterday, some surprising news hit as prospect Yegor Rykov has opted to play next season in the KHL in Russia with CSKA.

Rykov was a big get for the Rangers when they traded Michael Grabner for him at the 2018 trade deadline. It was an even bigger get when the Rangers signed him to an entry level contract last summer. His decision to go back to the KHL can come off as a disappointment. But there’s more to this situation.

This is not a Lias Andersson type situation, or at least that’s not what it appears to be. Rykov certainly had a rough start to his North American career. He spent half the season on IR, then when he was able to play, he struggled at the AHL level. He got to the point where he was a healthy scratch.

There was minimal cause for concern regarding Rykov’s play. It was an adjustment to the North American game. He dealt with the season opening injury, then had another one late in the season with Hartford. Then COVID hit and blew up everything. He wasn’t on the playoff roster to let him heal up and get to 100%.

The KHL is set to start on September 2. The AHL isn’t set to start until December 4, and that’s only if the US can get its numbers under control. There is too much uncertainty in the US game right now. Guaranteed playing time for Rykov is more important than him staying in the US to sit around and wait.

I’m unsure of the details of his contract with the KHL, but Rykov still has one year on his Rangers deal. While it’s unlikely Rykov would leave in the middle of the KHL season, he could feasibly come to the Rangers/Hartford Wolf Pack at the end of the KHL season in February/March.

The other wild card here is the length of the AHL/NHL seasons. There’s a big chance the league extends the season into next summer as well, meaning Rykov probably doesn’t miss all that much AHL/NHL time. In essence, he’s getting two seasons under his belt if he comes back over.

There isn’t much to read into Yegor Rykov’s decision to play next season in Russia in the KHL. It’s just a kid needing to get some of his game back together after a bad start to the next step in his career. It doesn’t look like we’ve seen the last of Rykov in the Rangers system.

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  • I would say that this is the right course of action for Rykov regardless of where he is likely to end up or what his future plans are.

    However, the Rangers are now exceedingly thin on defense in North America. Except for the ten guys who were in camp, all they have are Reuanen and Robertson – and who knows if Reuanen will even come over. It would surprise me if they kept Crawley, so we could be talking about ten players. And that assumes Staal, Smith, Raddysh are back.

    The Rangers need a few guys who can man the blue line at a passable level.

  • Rykov also could have read the tea leaves, and realized that his playing in the NHL, with Miller, Lindgren, and Robertson all ahead of him means he won’t be on our roster for some time??????????

    I’d really like to see him healthy for an honest assessment of what he can do. Time will tell, hope he enjoys home cooking!!!!!!!!!!

  • Too bad we didn’t even get a chance to know you. Grabner is alive and well playing for the desert dogs. Looks like another trade where the Rangers came up empty handed.

    • Aside from not missing his 11 points in 46 games this season, you’re forgetting that we also got a 2018 2nd round pick from the Devils along with Rykov (who at his age still may retain some value for a couple of years). So no, we didn’t come away empty handed.

      • Grabs suffered a brutal eye injury after being moved from the Rangers. Its time to look at the rebuild and make an honest assessment on the direction of the Ranger organization. So far it looks to me like its stuck in 2nd gear, as their draft picks haven’t exactly lit the world on fire.

  • I think it’s time to start questioning young player development as it relates to the Rangers’ organization. Especially for D men.

    • We are in agreement here. The Rangers have done well with DeAngelo and Lindgren (Fox does not really count as he was NHL ready from day one), but otherwise have fared pretty poorly in this area.

      What concerns me most is the number of players, both forwards and Dmen, who decide the Rangers are either not interested in them or won’t develop them properly and want out. First on the list of course is Ryan Graves. Graves’s last season is Hartford was terrible and he clearly must have wanted out as the Rangers traded him for a player they clearly didn’t want (Bigras). Just this spring, they terminated the contract of Sean Day. I believe terminations of ELCs must be mutual, so Day wanted out and is now with Tampa. I don’t know if Tampa really sees something in Day or simply doesn’t take failure in NY seriously. Either way, it says something bad about the Rangers.

      Why was Mason Geertsen (Pack signee) playing with Day in Maine. I think because Geertsen fights and fighting and in Hartford, a defenseman must either fight or score.

      And we see the discouragement hitting many European players, including Rykov and various other defensemen – but also Meskanen, Kovacs, Andersson (with a Kravtsov scare).

      There are some mixed up kids in this world and some guys can’t see that they are not good enough and want to shoot the messenger, but there seem to be just too many examples here.

      The team just makes there mind up too quickly. Darren Raddysh is a journeyman NHLer, but he is a good hockey player. He’ll never be top four and you likely don’t want him in your lineup at all, but he is presently better than Hajek and IMO betterthan Staal on a bad day (in your opinion probably better than Staal on a good day). Yet playing Raddysh is not even considered.

      [He probably would have been an upgrade on the injured DeAngelo in the Carolina series but that is a different story, the stubborn belief that you should always play the best player available even when that best player is so banged up that he really isn’t the best player.]

      Tony, note on an earlier thread. You were correct on Ryan Gropp. He was indeed part of the Hagelin trade, a total loss in hindsight. As for the Talbot trade, the Rangers could have had Jonas Siegenthaler (who Washington took with the top pick the Rangers got), but they traded the pick for multiple lower picks that amounted to nothing. What remains of that trade is Adam Huska. No player the Rangers took in the 2015 draft has played an NHL game.

      Of course, if Siegenthaler had been drafted by the Rangers, he would be back in Europe now.

      • Raymond, I think the tell tale sign is how young D men do here, and then how they do when they go to other teams.

        Ryan Graves is a perfect example. He was here at a time when we had no young D men in the pipeline, and yet, the Rangers, as an org, did not have room to even give him a chance.

    • I have to agree, Richter…The NY Rangers have never been known as a “good defensive team” for all these years…so what makes anyone think that these good prospects, having a lot of “potential” will be GOOD defenseman, by the time they climb the ladder to making the parent team? We have to have defensive-minded, well-versed coaches in our entire organization, in order to achieve the potential each one of these prospects have (when we select them)…and to achieve each prospect’s potential…that will be on the coaches, themselves.

      • The thing is Joe, and we all have seen enough hockey, to say that D wins playoff games. Not free wheeling offense. The Canes played an unbelievable, suffocating team D and forecheck.

        The funny thing is the Rangers did not play terrible D against the Canes, the real problem is that the forwards never had the puck. Which is another form of team D. If we have it, then they don’t.

        Lindqvist is supposed to be elite in his progression, so far. Same with Miller. It will be interesting to see what happens when they get with the big club.

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