1. (1) Evgeny Grachev, C/LW Grade: 8.0C
Acquired: Third Round, 75th overall, 2008 NHL Entry Draft
After a standout 2008-09 season with the OHL Brampton Battalion in which he was named OHL Rookie of the Year, Grachev had a good training camp with the Rangers this fall. It was clear, however, that he needed some seasoning, and was sent to the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack to prepare for either a mid-season call-up or a roster position with the Rangers in the fall of 2010. His adjustment to the AHL, however, has not been as smooth as the organization had hoped, and he has not steadily improved either his offensive production or up and down effort.
However, Grachev is just 20 years old, brought up in the Russian system, and developing. He has not been helped by the poor team on the ice with him, or the expectations that were placed upon him to start the season. At this point, it is unclear whether Grachev will be ready for NHL next fall. However, he is still the top prospect in the Rangers system and with consistent effort, big things are expected down the road.
...i was hopeful that Grachev would have been able to help the big club this year, but his growing pains have forced the Rangers to keep him down in Hartford to continue his learning process. Which was the smart move. We'll see you next season Evgeni. Hopefully.