Drafted in the first round of the 2007 NHL entry draft, Alexei Cherepanov was a dynamic forward who looked to be a part of the Rangers future. Having dropped to the 17th pick over concerns around Russian players choosing to stay in the recently formed KHL, Cherepanov had the potential to somewhat of a steal for the Blueshirts.
He attended the Rangers prospect camp shortly after being drafted, and was set to play at least one more year in the KHL with Avangard Omsk. Playing on a line with former Ranger Jaromir Jagr and former King Pavel Rosa, he returned to the bench on a line change in the third period of a game on October 13th and soon collapsed. He was unable to be revived, dying of what appeared to be a congenital heart problem leading to a heart attack.