By way of Jeff Klein at Slap Shot, we know thatÂ Alexei Cherepanov “definitely won’t be in the NHL this year”:http://slapshot.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/13/agent-says-cherepanov-wont-join-rangers-this-season/. This was already a foregone conclusion, and despite what Tom Renney said late last month about wanting the 2007 first round pick to at least be in attendance for training camp this year, don’t count on that, either.
By September, the CHL season will be in full swing, so it makes no sense for the Avangard Omsk right wing to pick up and leave just so he can eat alongside the Rangers’ other prospects at the Cheesecake Factory in White Plains.
As for whether Cherepanov could be a Ranger at least a year from now, here’s where the Rangers are essentially operating on faith. Given everything that we’ve already seen from the new Russian league, it’s safe to assume that Cherepanov will stand to make much more money in Omsk than he will in Manhattan. And for proof, he may need only to look across the locker room at new teammate, Jaromir Jagr.
But I also think Jagr could end up being the Rangers’ best salesman, because as disappointed as may have been that the Rangers didn’t make a harder pitch for him, Jagr had always expounded on the merits of the NHL in general and the Rangers in particular. At some point when talking to his new disciple, my bet is that message gets across.
Meanwhile, the same blog always has speculation that Brendan Shanahan of all people could be the next big NHL name to head East. It makes sense if you consider Shanahan hasn’t been bowled over with options by teams here, and his relationship with St. Petersburg coach Barry Smith. But I also have a hard time seeing Shanahan uprooting his young family to chase after a few more dollars in a foreign land when he can still find some sort of role on an NHL team, all while positioning himself for his long-anticipated next move after retirement.