Hockey's Future takes a look at prospects 26-50 as they countdown the top 50 young stars in the NHL.
38. Evgeny Grachev – C – New York Rangers
Height: 6-3, Weight: 202
Big and strong, Grachev was selected by the NY Rangers in the third round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. After being named the OHL Rookie of the Year for 2008-09, Grachev disappointed some by his early performance in the AHL last season. After adjusting to the jump to professional play, Grachev began to perform as was expected of a top prospect. He is competing for a roster spot this fall, but expect him to begin the season with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL. He will be watched closely and should be a call-up to the Rangers at some time during the 2010-11 season.
41. Derek Stepan – C – New York Rangers
Height: 6-0, Weight: 168
Stepan joins the professional ranks this fall, after spending the last two seasons with the University of Wisconsin. After captaining the gold medal-winning US team in the 2010 World Junior Championships and achieving the tournament's scoring title (14 points in seven games, with a plus-nine rating), Stepan went on to post more than a point a game with the Badgers last season. An excellent puck distributor, with elite on-ice vision, Stepan is expected to join the Rangers roster this fall. If not, he is at most six months away from his NHL debut.
...not sure how these guys can rank Grachev ahead of Stepan when the Wisconsin star is on the doorstep of winning a roster spot on the big club, while Grachev is ready to start another season in Hartford.
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