Rangers prospect Evgeni Grachev will join Team Russia in Guelph, Ontario on November 20th as the Russian junior team faces a select team of Ontario Hockey League (OHL) stars as part of the ADT Canada Russia Challenge. The annual tournament, in which the Russian junior squad faces all star teams comprised of players from the OHL, Western Hockey League (WHL) and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), serves as the final proving ground for players hoping to earn an invite to their country’s selection camp for the upcoming World Junior Championships, to be held this year in Ottawa beginning on December 26th.
According to Russian junior team head coach Sergei Nemchinov, the other Russians playing in North America this season who will join the Russian squad during the 6-game tournament include Nikita Filatov, Sergei Ostapchuk, Dmitri Kugryshev, Dmitri Kulikov, Andrei Loktionov, and possibly Sergei Korostin and Maxim Mayorov. All but Filatov and Mayorov are playing in either the OHL or QMJHL this season. Filatov and Mayorov, both part of the Columbus Blue Jackets system, are currently playing for Syracuse in the AHL.
“Ostapchuk and Kugryshev will participate in the first two games,” Nemchinov told Championat.ru. “Kulikov will participate in the second game. In the third – Grachev, Loktionov, Filatov and, most likely, Mayorov and Korostin. In the fourth game – Loktionov, Filatov, Mayorov, and I don’t know about Korostin for the time being. We don’t have a final answer on him. And we’ll play the last two games with the roster that we bring from here.” The roster Nemchinov will bring with him from Russia is available at the ADT Canada Russia Challenge web site.
Grachev, who plays for the Brampton Battalion in the OHL, has enjoyed a successful debut to his North American career so far this season, scoring at just under a point-a-game pace with 8 goals and 9 assists in 18 games. He ranks third on his team in scoring and earlier this season put up a 10-game point scoring streak. His team is currently in the midst of a 13-game winning streak that has vaulted them to the top of the standings in the OHL’s Central Division.
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