Sunday, January 18, 2009

The 3rd Round Was a Charm

In the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, the Rangers had 2 selections in the 3rd round; both picks are turning out to be pretty solid players for their positions.

We start with Evgeny Grachev as we are wondering what else can we say about Godzilla that has not been already said about his season? The easy part was that Grachev's Brampton Battalion just whipped the Sarnia Sting 7-2 for their 4th straight win.

Grachev had 2 goals, an assist and another first star of the game for his Sunday afternoon effort. Perhaps the best part that we have to point out is that unlike many a first year European prospect, Grachev is not showing any sign of hitting a "European Wall" that we have seen happen many times before.

Grachev's efforts also extended his latest scoring streak to 7 games as Grachev has gone 7-6-13, +9 in that span. The one thing that maybe needs to be said is that Grachev is consistent with points in 28 out of the 36 he has played for the Battalion.

In Sunday's game, Grachev's points came from a change of pace for him. His first goal of the game was scored off the right faceoff circle (instead of his usual left side) at 3:36 of the second period which gave the Battalion a 4-1 lead. Grachev then scored his second goal of the game just 3:33 later as he also used a change of pace here.

Grachev entered the Sarnia zone and then caught Sarnia goalie Dan Spence asleep when he fired a shot off a screen for a 6-1 lead and his prospect leading 24th goal of the season. Grachev then finished his day with an assist at 16:55 of the 3rd period on teammate Ken Peroff's 7th goal of the season.

Grachev is now 24-22-46, +19 on the season.

Then we have our other 3rd round pick in Tomas Kundratek who is showing that he could be the defensive stopper the Rangers lack on the blueline.

Kundratek had an assist but was a +2 as Kundratek's Medicine Hat Tigers had no problem with the Red Deer Rebels defeating them 5-1.

Kundratek was also part of a penalty kill unit that limited the Rebels to just one power play goal in 7 attempts. On the season as part of the first defensive unit, Kundratek is a +8 on the season as well as 1-8-9 in points in 26 games.

Kundratek who we called "The Mystery Man" in our profile of him for the Blueshirt Bulletin says he has an offensive game; a claim that the Tigers believe since they use him on their power play. We believe though that Kundratek's future is as the Ranger's stopper on the blueline pairing him with either Bobby Sanguinetti or Michael Del Zotto.

In either case the Rangers have winners from their 3rd round selections.


As we found out that Tysen Dowzak was in fact a healthy scratch from the Kelowna lineup on Saturday evening. We have no argument if a player is sat because his play has not been up to standards.

We do have a argument when that player is used as an example but others are not held to the same standards. Having said that we will watch to see if Kelowna does hold all of their players to that standard.

We can start with Tyler Myers who put the puck over the boards twice in the 3rd period which directly led to the game tying goal and then the Kelowna loss. Sure we can feel bad when it happens once in a game but when you do it right after you just came out of the penalty box for the very same offense is not about feeling sorry.

(Grachev courtesy of the Brampton Battalion, Kundratek courtesy of Medicine Hat/Mc Images)

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