This is the first in a weekly series of profiles on the youngsters currently in the Rangers organization who will be counted on to contribute in the future.
Evgeny Grachev, Center/Winger
6-3, 212 lbs.
Date of Birth: 2-21-1990
Drafted in 3rd Round of 2008 NHL Draft.
Evegeny Grachev is currently considered by many to be the Rangers top prospect in the minor leagues. After scoring 40 goals and 40 assists for 80 points in 60 games and sporting a +48 rating for the Brampton Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League this past season, Grachev was announced as the winner of the OHL Rookie of the Year award. He was invited to the Rangers Prospect Development camp last week and by all accounts was the strongest skater to participate. Known for his strength and creativity with the puck, Grachev will need to improve on his play away from the puck to impress the Rangers brass both during the upcoming Traverse City Tournament and in training camp later this summer. Grachev will be given every opportunity to win a spot with the big club in camp (especially if forward Nik Zherdev leaves the team) and will be counted on to contribute immediately should he be given the chance. If he does not make the team in camp, Grachev will be expected to continue improving his game (most likely with the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack) and will probably be the team’s first call up in case of an injury or in response to a slow start at the NHL level.
What the Scouts are saying:
Grachev is a top prospect with size, 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. – Hockey’s Future
Everything we’ve heard or seen about Grachev has been positive so far and it seems this young man could be the one to fill the void of an offensive juggernaut in the Rangers organization after the tragic passing of the talented Alexei Cherapanov last season. Here is a video of Grachev during his award winning season with the Brampton Battalion:
Next Week: Derek Stepan