Rangers steal Alexei Cherepanov
By him sliding all the way down to the bottom half of the first round-- most likely because of transfer agreement issues-- the Rangers were able to make Alexei Cherepanov, the #1-ranked European skater, their top pick at last night's NHL Entry Draft.
Rangers GM Glen Sather is said to have attempted two draft-day trades to try to move up and secure Cherepanov, after making four separate trips to Russia to specifically scout him.
Cherepanov's Russian agent says that Cherepanov will stay to play in Russia with Avangard Omsk for two more years; Cherepanov's North American agent, Jay Grossman, says one more year, in what amounts to an argument over which lawyer gets to cash the checks.
Cherepanov himself told NHL.com that he'd like to play in Russia for at least one more year:
"I like physical play. I'm not afraid of it. But I might not be mature enough physically right now to play in the NHL. I think that if I play one more year in the Russian Super League I will be ready the next year for the NHL."
Cherepanov, born 1/15/89, won't leave his teens until midway through the 2008-09 season.
By the grace of the newly re-designed packattack.org, here's the Rangers making Cherepanov their pick: