Get to Know Evgeny Grachev
photo © 2011 Bridget Samuels | more info (via: Wylio)
It wasn't a major deal by any standards, but the St. Louis Blues did pull off a trade during the 2011 NHL Entry Draft that might have gone overlooked by fans that were solely focused on the team's draft selections themselves. The Blues obtained Evgeny Grachev from the New York Rangers in exchange for their third round, 72nd overall pick during this season's draft (The Rangers selected Steven Fogarty).
Grachev, selected 75th overall in the 2008 NHL Draft, has already made his NHL debut by skating in eight games with the Rangers last season. He failed to make much of an impact as he was held scoreless while registering a (-3) plus/minus rating.
However, Grachev's amateur totals give a better indication of the talent the left winger possesses. He tallied 38 points in 73 games in the AHL in 2010-11 and 28 points in 2009-10. Going a bit further back, he scored 40 goals and 40 assists in 60 OHL games. No one is expecting a repeat of his OHL totals at the NHL level, but it is clear that Grachev does have some scoring talent within him.
He also has some experience at the international level, as he skated for both Russia's 18 and under squad in 2008 (silver) and then for their 20 and under squad in 2009 (bronze).
Grachev does carry some size on his frame, measuring in at 6'4", 224 lbs as reported by the Blues official site. According to HockeysFuture.com
, Grachev is described as a skater with "physical presence and good hands." He's labeled as a power forward that is more than capable of being a top-six forward. Of course, that's assuming Grachev pans out as he is projected, but the future appears bright.
Realistically, expectations for Grachev are pretty low, but what the Blues received was a player with more experience under his belt in exchange for a third round pick. Picks in the mid to late rounds are really hit or miss, with more players failing to pan out than those that actually do. The Blues are also in need of some depth on the left side, and Grachev does provide them with another option, though we won't know if he will have a role at the NHL level until we get a bit closer to training camp.
Below is a brief highlight video from Grachev's 2009-10 season.