Thursday, March 11, 2010

Grachev Struggling

The Hockey's Future takes their monthly look at NHL prospects that are either living up to expectations or falling short. Here's what they have to say about Rangers #1 prospect Evgeni Grachev...

Evgeny Grachev, LW – Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL)
Drafted by the New York Rangers
2nd round, 75th overall, 2008

After starting his rookie pro season strong, posting six goals, nine assists in his first 25 games, Grachev has struggled to find consistency. In his past 35 games, he has gone through six, eight, and seven-game cold streaks. He has posted only one goal and two assists in his last 15 games, going back through February. To date, Grachev has 12 goals and 14 assists through 64 games. Much of the difficulty can be attributed to typical problems for first-year pros. His play away from the puck, most notably on the defensive end, needs improvement. The 20-year-old also needs to learn to better utilize his hulking 6’4 220-pound frame. Regardless of how he finishes the 2009-10 season, Grachev has the size and skills to one day be a formidable power forward for the Rangers.

...this is why it was so important for the Rangers to get him out of juniors and into the pros. Let him take his lumps this season, learn the game and be ready for training camp next season. hunch is that he'll start the season in Hartford again next year and hopefully play well enough to be called up at some point.

Rangers goaltending prospect Scott Stajcer of the OHL's Owen Sound Attack is also said to be struggling.

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