MINNEAPOLIS---Evgeny Grachev was considered the type of prospect who could blossom into a NHL power forward. The 6-4 Russian, selected in the third round of the 2008 draft, led all OHL rookies with 40 goals and 40 assists with Brampton in 2008-09, but never made the leap in the AHL.
In his rookie year in Hartford, he struggled with the transition and was 12-16-29 and shifted from center to wing last season, but nonetheless was ranked 21st overall on The Hockey News’ 2010 Future Watch.
But yesterday, the Rangers---who had been shopping Grachev for more than a year, general manager Glen Sather confirmed, shipped him to the Blues for a third-round pick that they used for select Steven Fogarty, a Minnesota high school star.
Grachev and his agent had asked for a move, said Sather and director of player personnel Gordie Clark.
“He just felt that he wasn’t fitting in with our system,” Sather said. “He’s been with us for three years now. We liked him but we just felt that the person we got in the trade is going to respond a little bit quicker. Sometimes guys get trapped in that situation. The only team that had interest was St. Louis; they’d seen him in Traverse City (a pre-season prospects tournament). If he had another poor year this year, there wasn’t going to be a lot of value. He still may turn out, he just needs a fresh start.”
Clark said Grachev "went pretty early into Hartford, he still could’ve had another year in junior, but they expressed interest to turn pro …It was a good year last year, he was heading in the right direction. Again last year, they expressed interest that maybe we should part ways, that he have another chance, and we did…
As for Fogarty, Clark said: “We really felt he was very underrated in the draft, he is one of the most natural passers out here (in Minnesota). He just grew an inch and a half from the end of the year until now. He’s a big boy…we believe he’s the top guy in Minnesota on our own. Skating is not bad, I want it to be better, but the kid works so hard that’s gonna be coming."
Before the swap, the Rangers had no selections in the second and third rounds, having surrendered them in trades. In the fourth round, at No. 106, the Rangers chose Michael St. Croix, a center who has 75 points in 68 games with the WHL’s Edmonton
Oil Kings. St. Croix was the third center taken by the team, having chosen J.T. Miller of the U.S. Under-18 team in the first round on Friday.
With the 134th and 136th picks in the fifth round, the Blueshirts went for a smallish, point-a-game, right wing, Shane McColgan of the Kelowna Rockets, and a big defensive defenseman, Samuel Noreau from the Quebec Major Junior League. They also acquired a sixth-round pick from Nashville and took 6-3 Slovak defenseman Peter Ceresnak.