Photo from Getty Images
This prospect review will tackle the Rangers biggest prospect: Evgeny Grachev. Since he became the Rangers 3rd round pick (75th overall) in the 2008 NHL draft there has been tons of talk of how great he is. Now we were all aware that he was a steal to be picked in the third round, but how much of a steal was he?
Grachev came over to North America right after he was drafted--a huge plus for him in my book--and joined the OHL. Last year (his rookie campaign) he scored 40 goals and added 40 assists for 80 points in 60 games along with a whopping +48; a performance that earned him OHLrookie of the year honors. He then opened more eyes when he played in the playoffs scoring 11 goals along with 14 assists in 19 games. Simply put: the 19 year old Ranger prospect completely dominated and manhandled the OHL.
Hockey's Future recently came out with their top 20 prospects of the New York Rangers and Grachev found himself on top of that list. He was above Anisimov and above McDonaghand we know how high scouts are on them. This speaks volumes to me simply because everyone expects Anisimov to make the Rangers this year; so if Grachev is ranked above an--almost certain--NHL player then that makes me happy.
Click after the jump for more on Grachev.
Grachevis a top prospect withsize, a physical presence and good hands. An above average skater with a pro shot and the ability to protect the puck, Grachev has transitioned from being a center to being a winger. Expected to be a power forward at the next level, Grachev will need to work on giving the team a consistent effort throughout the game, but there is no question that he has all the skills to be a top-six forward in the NHL.
If that isnt enough to get you excited about Grachev then I have more for you. As usual Jess from the Prospect Park has been helping us and he is incredibly high on Grachev as a prospect. When it came to Grachev he had this to say:
The question is where to begin in describing him? Start with a +48 which gets overlooked because Grachev was 40-40-80 last season on offense. Grachevis the prototype for the new style of power forward as he is adept at both a power and finesse game. Grachevhas several different shots that he uses to score with. Grachev is very solid 2 way player who has great instincts for the game. Is still adjusting to the North American style of play and workload. Needs to add more upper body muscle as well as improve his first step acceleration.
Now there is some controversy over where he will be playing next year. There was original reported that the Rangers had already told his OHL team (Brampton) that he was not returning; but we are now aware that those reports are unconfirmed. Regardless of where he will play next year Grachev is going to get a good hard look in camp, which will be good for him. Many scouts--Jess included--have said that Grachev will probably need a year in the AHL to help him develop. And to be completely honest I don't mind waiting a few years for Grachev to come to Broadway so long as he is being developed properly.
Either way he is definitely the Rangers most exciting prospect, what do you all think of him? Let me know in the comments.