Grachev Brampton Bound
Wednesday October 01st 2008, 11:10 pm
Photo: Brampton Battalion

Photo: Brampton Battalion

Ranger prospect Evgeni Grachev will have to wait another year to get his North American professional career underway, as the Hartford Wolf Pack have announced that the 18-year old Russian has been reassigned to the Brampton Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League. He’s expected to be in the lineup on Friday when the Battalion face the Owen Sound Attack.

The Battalion web site sheds some light on why Grachev hung around in Hartford while his fellow junior-eligible teammates were sent back to their respective teams last Thursday. “Grachev’s return from New York was delayed pending his release through the International Ice Hockey Federation. The Battalion appealed a Russian Ice Hockey Federation ruling that Grachev still was under contract to Yaroslavl 2, his former club,” the site reports, noting that other junior clubs faced similar difficulties gaining the release of their Russian-born players this season. “There’s a procedure in place, and with some federations it’s easier to get releases than others,” explained Battalion head coach Stan Butler. “We had to go through the process of obtaining his release, and sometimes that takes longer than you would like.”

Butler, who’s team is off to a 1-2 start and is still missing two of its top forwards due to their continued participation in NHL training camps, is excited to have Grachev back in the fold. “There’s no doubt, with the guys we’re missing, that we’re struggling to score goals. Getting Evgeny back will help us in that area,” Butler said of his team, which has been held to just two goals in each of their three games. “Taking players like Evgeny out of your lineup really hurts you, especially offensively.”

Grachev, who was scheduled to arrive in Toronto tonight, played in five pre-season games for the Battalion, scoring a goal and three assists, before leaving to join the Rangers’ prospects for the Traverse City Prospect Tournament. “He’s a very strong player, and we think he can be an impact player in the OHL,” said Butler. “As he gets more comfortable here with the language and the culture, we think he’ll be a great player for us.”

The Rangers also reassigned goaltender Antoine Lafleur to his new junior team in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.

The Wolf Pack played their first pre-season game tonight, a 3-2 victory over the Worcester Sharks. Most of the Pack’s returning players sat out while coach Gernander used the game as an opportunity to see how his newcomers faired in an in-game setting.

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4 Comments so far
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    i think lafleur was actually just traded to this new team, the huskies. the backup role and the refusal to trade him was with his prior team. so this is a good thing.

    Comment by Alan 10.01.08 @ 11:37 pm

    BOUCHERVILLE, Wednesday, October 1, 2008 – The P.E.I. Rocket and the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies completed a trade today.

    The Huskies acquired goaltender Antoine Lafleur (88-12-12) from the Huskies for an eighth round pick (via Drummondville) in the 2009 QMJHL Entry Draft.

    Lafleur, a New York Rangers second round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, played a total of 39 games with the Rocket last season. He won fourteen games while posting a 4.21 goals-against-average and .877 save percentage.

    Comment by Alan 10.01.08 @ 11:40 pm

    Thanks Alan. I woke up this morning thinking what I’d written last night didn’t sound right. In fact, the first words I spoke to my husband this morning were “I’m not sure if that was his old team.” (Romantic, eh?) That should probably be a good hint that I’m spending way too much time reading, writing and thinking about hockey these days. ;)

    Comment by laurie 10.02.08 @ 7:12 am

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