Thursday, November 6, 2008

One Very Hot, One Very Not

Thursday evening for a couple of Ranger prospects was a textbook example of what happens when all the breaks are going your way and when they don't.

For Evgeny Grachev (2008 3rd) life could not be treating him any better. The question is where to begin talking about what is going right for him.

Let us start with a goal and an assist effort during his Brampton Battalion's 8-4 come from behind win over the Plymouth Whalers. The 1-1-2 effort extended Grachev's scoring streak to 10 games in which Grachev has gone 6-6-12 during the his streak.

Grachev got on the board scoring his 6th goal of the season on the power play as Grachev poked in a rebound off teammate Matt Duchene's shot at 11:39 of the second period. For those of you keeping track, it is also the 6th different way that Grachev has scored a goal.

Grachev has scored finesse goals, power goals and now a garbage goal and here is the best part about Grachev; nobody is sure if he is a goal scorer, power forward or a 2 way player. Right now we are saying all of the above.

In the 3rd period Grachev teamed once again with Duchene as they set up defensemen Ken Peroff for Brampton's 7th goal of the game and turn the game into a blowout. Duchene wound up as the game's 2nd star as Grachev earned the 3rd star.

More about Grachev as his 10 game scoring streak is now the longest current streak in the OHL, that his Brampton Battalion have also now won 9 straight games to turn their season around at 11-6 after starting the season 2-6.

And can we point out that we do not believe that Grachev has still found his stride just yet? There will be a couple of keys to watch Grachev for; the first will be how he plays once the streak ends.

The second will be how Grachev handles the second half of the season. We will enjoy watching to find out.


On the other side of the picture are the struggles of Michael Del Zotto (2008 1st) and his Oshawa Generals who dropped their 3rd straight game 10-2 to Peterborough Petes.

While several of the Ranger prospects have been on positive scoring streaks, Del Zotto is on the kind of streaks that he would be very happy to get rid of.

Besides the losing streak, Del Zotto has also been a minus player in 4 straight games going -11 during that span. Del Zotto also has gone 5 games without a goal and only has 2 goals in 16 games.

The Generals have 2 of the most talented individual players in the OHL between Del Zotto and John Tavares. What they do not have is a strong enough supporting cast to help these 2 win games with the Generals.

When your team is not winning then a prospect like a Del Zotto is really not able to work on the things he needs to do in order to further his professional development as a player. Instead as we witnessed when Michael Sauer was with the Portland Winterhawks, a player like Del Zotto has to play too many minutes and play in too many different roles.

At 7-9, the Generals are not a lost cause but they are also not a serious contender for anything and from a Ranger fan standpoint this does not help Del Zotto. If the Generals are where they are now (currently 7th in the OHL's Eastern Conference) about mid-season then in our eyes a trade will become a needed item.

Del Zotto is a talented player but even the most talented of players can not win games by themselves.

We also want to make sure people realize that we have not lost any confidence in Del Zotto as we are watching a repeat of what happened with Bobby Sanguinetti when he was with Owen Sound. The Attack could not win and Sanguinetti did not look good even though it was not his fault.

We know that in time Del Zotto is going to be a serious source of excitement for Ranger fans.

(Grachev courtesy of Brampton, Del Zotto courtesy of the New York Rangers)


ryanloral said...

So, Jess, with both of them being signed by us (I think), what's the ability of the NYR to get those guys out of junior, albeit for different reasons. Grachev sounds like he can play for US now, and del zotto maybe coming up to hartford would suit his development better.

i haven't seen grachev play at all and don't really know the caliber of play in the OHL, so could you maybe juxtapose the play there with the ahl and hartford and why or why not both those players would or would not benefit from being in connecticut. thanks.

Jess Rubenstein said...

OK Ryan let me try to confuse the heck out of you.

Actually only Grachev is under contract as Del Zotto though will get his most likely next May as it seems to be the Ranger tradition for first round picks.

Both prospects though have to remain with their OHL teams until that team ends their season.

After that it gets a tad confusing.

Grachev because the Rangers drafted him BEFORE he went to the OHL will be able to stay with the Rangers or Hartford next season.

Del Zotto though would have to either make the Rangers or must be returned to the OHL.

If you are going huh then you understand the rules