Sunday, June 24, 2007


ALEXEI CHEREPANOVHow else to describe the Rangers success in the draft? Jackpot? Lottery? Anyway you cut it it has to be one of the more satisfying drafts the Rangers have had in years. Alexei Cherepanov is rated as the number one skater out of Europe. He broke Pavel Bure's rookie record of 17 goals with 18. He is knicknamed the Siberian Express as Bure was named the Russian Rocket. If he is half as exciting as Bure it should be some fun years at the Garden. In the Russian Super League he scored more points in his first year than did Malkin (Pittsburgh), Ovechkin (Washington) and Kovalchuk (Atlanta).

Cherepanov is 6', 183 lbs, is a great skater with great hands. So how come he lasted til the 17th pick? I believe the other teams were scared off by the Russian Federation and also the inability to shell out the big bucks. The Rangers now have to deal with the Russian Federation and work out some money deal. It should be no big deal. Malkin pulled it off to play with the Penguins. All in all it looks like at least two years before we see Alexei in a Ranger uniform, but who knows for sure. However, judging by how the Rangers worked with Callahan, Dubinsky, Dawes and others it wont be too soon for Alexei to be seen in a Blue shirt. The Ranger fans will have another Alexei to cheer for and hope he is not the enigma the other Alexei, Kovalev, was.

The other great pick was goalie prospect Antoine Lafleur of the QMJHL. He had a GAA of 2.97. He is no relation to the great Guy Lafleur. He is a big goalie at 6'4" and 186 lbs. If he proves he can stop pucks it would bolster the chances of the Rangers making a blockbuster trade before the start of the season. Could you live with Montoya, Prucha and some draft picks for Vinnie Lecavalier? I could. Tampa Bay needs a goalie and Montoya is an excellent prospect. After all what is Montoya's future with the Rangers? Backup to Lundqvist? I don't think the kid would like that.

Lundqvist is a restricted free agent but he isn't going anywhere. He and the Rangers are negotiating for a long term deal. If the Islanders could give Dipietro 15 years what do you think Lundqvist is worth? Lundqvist should be a Ranger goalie for life. The only one to have that distinction was Mike Richter though Eddie Giacomin should have had that honor also. With a guy like Lundqvist doesn't it make sense for the Rangers to try to bolster their front line by dealing away a fine goalie prospect who has low prospects for cracking the job as the number one goaltender? What do you think?


NY Rangers: Alexei Cherepanov

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