I’d tell you that Alexei Cherepanov was the dominant player on the ice at the Rangers’ prospect development camp, but that would be misleading.
The Rangers No. 1 draft pick was brought to New York straight from the draft without even an extra pair of socks, meaning everything from his sticks to his skates were not his own. The result is that Cherepanov still looked impressive in a set of fairly rudimentary drills. But whether he’s the second coming of Pavel Bure, or even Valeri Bure, is something still to be determined.
Some other notes from my first visit to the Training Center in more than a month:
Karel Rachunek is indeed a free agent after the Rangers opted not to make him a qualifying offer by yesterday’s deadline. Tom Renney said the move was to provide the Rangers’ some flexibility for free agency, and to give some other players in the system opportunities. But he did half-heartedly say Rachunek could be re-signed by the Rangers. Don’t count on it, though.
Renney also said he still hasn’t had a conversation with Michael Nylander, but that he was given the go-ahead by Glen Sather to do so. The plan as of now is for the coach to reach out to Nylander before Sunday, but Renney also said there’s nothing he could say to Nylander that hasn’t already been made apparent.
Among the other players on the ice today: forwards Artem Anisimov and Tommy Pyatt; goalie Antoine Lafleur; and defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti. Marc Staal was not here, but could be here later in the week. Strangely, the Rangers brought in two Japanese players for the camp as a gesture of goodwill with that country’s hockey federation. Neither is being seriously looked at.
Plenty more to come in the next few days. Until then…