December 18, 2015

Evgeny Grachev

Evgeny Grachev (also known as Grachyov) left the Lokomotiv-Yaroslavl junior program to play junior hockey in Canada in 2008 in hopes of one day playing in the National Hockey League.

Grachev's gamble started off well as the lanky center showed poise and creativity in his only season with the Brampton Battalion of the OHL. He was named as the league's top rookie with 40 goals and 80 points in just 60 games. He added an impressive 25 points in 19 playoff games.

Grachev, who was drafted 75th overall by the New York Rangers in 2008, made the immediate jump to pro hockey the following season. The teenager had a promising star with five goals and thirteen points in his first fifteen AHL games, but ended the season mired in a 27 game goalless drought. He had really fallen out of favor with the coach due to his weak defensive game.

In 2010-11 Grachev's game showed improvement at the AHL level, both in terms of consistency and defensive commitment. He showed more glimpses of offensive domination, especially when he kept moving his feet. The big man was quick with a deceiving change of pace, giving him extra space and time  to unleash his stinging wrist shot.

Grachev was rewarded with several quick call ups to total an eight game audition with the Rangers. However his ice time was limited and he never picked up any points.

Intrigued by his size and skill set, the St. Louis Blues traded a third round pick in 2011 for Grachev. The Blues tried shoe-horning him into a bottom six role with the Blues. He would play 26 games with the Blues that season, scoring just one goal and three assists.

After spending the 2012-13 season entirely in the minor leagues where he completely, Grachev returned to Russia.

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