Evgeny Grachev

Prospecting For Gold

The Traverse City Prospects Tournament concluded today, with the Rangers finishing in fifth spot on the back of an impressive 7-2 win over the Dallas Stars. Derek Stepan lead the way for the Rangers in the competition with seven points in four games.

One of the players who benefited from playing alongside Stepan, is the player we focus on in today’s edition of Ranger Countdown: Evgeny Grachev.

Player Profile
Drafted in the third round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Grachev quickly made an impression on North America with a 40 goal 40 assist season for the Brampton Battalion in his first year playing here.

Those results, plus a solid start to camp got him a good long look in the preseason last year, where the 18 year old Russian born left wing suited up for six of the seven games, recording a goal and two assists.

Rather than send him back to the OHL, the Rangers elected to have him play for Hartford last season. The decision a relatively simple one given how he’d been able to dominate the generally smaller opposition that he faced in the OHL.

It wasn’t always an easy transition for the 6-3 212lb Grachev however, and his 12 goals and 16 assists were not necessarily the most impressive statistics. Playing a more rounded role for the Pack, he also had to adjust to the increased speed and strength of the opposition, while also becoming more effective away from the puck.

Even after a year with the Pack, he remains a relatively raw player with a seemingly awkward skating style, and perhaps still half a step behind NHL speed. There’s certainly something there, but whether at 20 years old he’s ready for a full time role in the NHL remains to be seen.

The task is all that much harder given the number of veterans the Rangers have on the roster, with Grachev needing to jump over perhaps two, three or maybe even four players if you include Mats Zuccarello Aasen in the mix, to secure a spot.

That’s not to say he won’t get his chances soon. If He can show the same sort of progression in the AHL as we saw from the likes of Artem AnisimovNigel Dawes and Ryan Callahan, then a call-up might be on offer during the season. And if he doesn’t get a shot this season, then chances are he could seriously compete for a spot in camp next season.

2009-10 Statistics
Team: Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL)
Stats: 12 goals, 18 assists and 14 penalty minutes in 80 games

Prediction
Team: New York Rangers (NHL)
Stats: 0 goals, 0 assists and 4 penalty minutes in 5 games

Team: Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL)
Stats: 22 goals, 23 assists and 20 penalty minutes in 72 games

Trivia
Although he didn’t play in the NHL last season, Grachev did get a call up to New York at the beginning of the season.

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