Report: Rangers Favorite To Land Russian Defenseman Alexei Bereglazov

Per the always fantastic Elliotte Friedman, the New York Rangers are reportedly favorites to land Alexei Bereglazov — a KHL free agent.

From his 30 Thoughts column:

7. Don’t know if the Rangers are going to get Kevin Shattenkirk, but there is one free-agent defenceman they could snare. His name is Alexei Bereglazov, a 22-year-old left-hand shot playing at KHL Magnitogorsk. They are considered a favourite.

Here are his current stats with Metallurg Magnitogorsk (courtesy of Elite Prospects):

The key statistics? As a 22-year-old he put up 19 points in 60 KHL games, and has recorded six points in eight playoff games. Those are big jumps offensively from the year before.

From Blueshirt Banter’s foreign corespondent Alex Nunn:

He's a big guy who excels defensively in his own zone. Not a puck-mover, but likes to chip in offensively from time to time and has looked to do so more often this season. Good skater for his size. Biggest question mark is his defense on the rush, particularly against quick forwards, but North American ice should help him there.

He's still just 22 so has plenty of time to iron out any creases. Not a sure thing by any means, but I can see him being a good depth option on the blue line with time.

The Rangers desperately need good, cheap defensive help on the blue line. As a defenseman, excelling in your own zone overseas is both a good and a bad thing. The good side is a guy being able to control the play with the bigger ice surface is encouraging when that space is taken away on the smaller North American ice.

The bad side is that decrease in size also works against a defensmean who might have more room to skate or move the puck out of pressure. There will be a transition period either way.

When asked about his offense, Alex replied with the following:

He's got offensive ability in the sense that he'll join the rush and pinch in, but he's just not a puck-mover.

The Rangers are pressed to find these types of players outside of the draft, especially with their lack of picks and the dearth of the farm system. Adding someone like Bereglazov is like finding a lottery ticket lying on the ground. Even if he doesn’t work out, it costs the team nothing.

As reported: the Rangers are favorites but have not yet landed the young defenseman.

Here’s to hoping they do.