According to the Hockey News, that is. They’ve included the New York Rangers’ prospect on The Hot List, their weekly compendium of minor league, junior, college and high school players they look forward to seeing play in the NHL one day. Here’s what they had to say about the Ontario Hockey League’s top rookie scorer:
Think of Grachevâ€™s first North American season as a freight train. The 6-foot-3, 212-pound left winger may have started a little slowly, but now that he has found his game, heâ€™s unstoppable.
â€œIâ€™ve gotten used to the league,â€ Grachev said. â€œItâ€™s more physical and more competitive every night.â€
With his frame, however, fighting off checks has not been a problem for Grachev, who is now up to 33 points in 27 games for a loaded Brampton squad. The Russian, who certainly looks like a dangerous power forward already, has especially clicked with center and 2009 draft prospect Matt Duchene, whose speed and skills mesh well with Grachev.
â€œWe have good line speed,â€ Grachev said. â€œHe can feed me with pucks and I can shoot them on net.â€
And how. The Battalion sit first place in the OHLâ€™s Central Division and will likely have at least three players at the upcoming world juniors in Grachev, Duchene and Cody Hodgson.
Naturally, Russia-Canada will have some extra spice to it.
â€œItâ€™s a special battle, itâ€™s going to be exciting,â€ Grachev said, while cautioning the real prize comes on the podium. â€œOur goal is to win the gold medal, it doesnâ€™t matter who we beat on the way to it.â€
Grachev, who ranks third on his team in scoring behind Hodgson and Duchene, will be looked upon to carry the Battallion over the next ten days as the two Canadians participate in Canada’s World Junior Championship selection camp. The 18-year old will join the Russian squad on December 21st when it arrives in Ottawa for the tournament.
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