Rangers News: Grachev will not play in the OHL next year
Stick salute to mleetch352 for breaking this story, I would have put it on the main page but I wanted to go more in depth ....
Well with training camp fast approaching Ranger news is starting to pour in, this time about Evgeny Grachev. Our friend Laurie from Beyond the Blueshirts is reporting some no so surprising news. According to OHL Prospects the Rangers have told the Brampton Battalion that Grachev will not be returning for a second year with the team. Here is what OHL Prospects had to say:
In theory, the Battalion should have been able to return quite the squad this year. Cody Hodgson, Matt Duchene, and Evgeni Grachev are all eligible to return to the OHL. However, all are longshots at best to return. Hodgson and Duchene will most certainly be in the NHL, while Grachev will be in the NHL or AHL (with the Rangers already informing Brampton he won't be returning to them).
Check after the jump for more information.
Like I said before this move should come as no surprise. There has been talk since the end of the OHL season that Grachev would make a play at the big club and the Rangers removing him from Bramton is the first big step. Much of the Rangers media--including us at the Banter--have been speculating that Grachev will make a splash in training camp; but will probably need one year in the AHL before he hits the Rangers squad.
Personally I think Grachev needs a year in the AHL before he goes to the Rangers--unless he has an unreal camp showing. As Jess from The Prospect Park said in our live chat here a few months ago: "The OHL is like 55 mph, the AHL is like 65 mph and the NHL is like 75mph." Grachev will get alot from his development in the AHL as he adjusts his game to the pro level. Rushing Grachev to the NHL would be a huge mistake by the Rangers. With the roster the way it looks right now I can't see Grachev playing on anything but the 4th line, especially if Anisimov makes the team. I would much rather Grachev play 20 minutes in the AHL than 7 minutes in the NHL--it's just basic development protocol.
Now regardless of what this means for Grachev it means a lot for the Rangers. What this move tells me is that the Rangers brass is confidently following through with their "youth movement." With Grachev joining the pro ranks the Rangers have many players who are NHL ready that are "home grown." When you think about it this year the Rangers can definitely expect Byers, Anisimov, Potter, Sanguinetti, Sauer, Gilroy and Heikkinen (maybe) to be NHL ready if they need to be. If you look two years into the future we can also expect Grachev, Stepan, McDonagh and Del Zotto to be at--or very close--to an NHL level.
Now the pessimists out there will tell me I am crazy and that none of these players will be NHL ready anytime soon, but I disagree. The Rangers have a good core of players coming up through the ranks--hey if they didn't there wouldn't be so much speculation over who makes the team this year out of camp. Things are starting to get interesting here in Ranger land.