Pavel Valentenko Prospect Preview

Mike S.

Perhaps a forgotten prospect by many Ranger fans; but certainly not by the Rangers Organization. Defenseman Pavel Valentenko was acquired in a 7-player deal with the Montreal Canadians that involved Chris Higgins, Ryan McDonagh and Doug Janit going to the Rangers for Scott Gomez, Tom Pyatt and Michael Busto in 2009. Valentenko was included in the deal, because the Canadians believed that he would not return to North America to pursue an NHL career. Fortunately for the Rangers, Valentenko did return and nearly made the Rangers roster twice. Currently, Valentenko is playing with the KHL on a two-year contract, but the Rangers still own his rights. Although the chances of Valentenko returning to North America to play for the Rangers is a long shot. He is still considered a high prospect in the Rangers organization and deserves to be showcased.

Nicknamed “The Russian Tank” Valentenko is arguably the hardest hitting defensemen within the Rangers system and has an overpowering slap shot as well. The 24 year old defenseman will not overwhelm you with his offensive play; as he is strictly a defensive-minded defenseman who enjoys the physical part of the game. At 6’2 and weighing 220, Valentenko plays a North American style of hockey and excels in playing physical. With the departure of Tim Erixon (traded to Columbus as part of the package for Rick Nash), Valentenko could perhaps be enticed to return to North America and compete for a roster spot with the Rangers in 2013. The only roadblock that would hinder that scenario is if Valentenko’s agent Igor Kramarev demands a one way contract for his client; which the Rangers rarely do for any prospect.

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Buzz: Pavel Valentenko Has Signed In Russia

According to Laurie from Beyond the Blueshirts, Pavel Valentenko has signed a two-year deal with Omsk of the KHL.

Valentenko tweeted this earlier this week

This link from the team website, in Russian, seems to indicate that Valentenko has signed there.

12:07PM: Valentenko tweets, “It was great experience for me to play 2 years in Hartford. I enjoyed everyday to be here! I will miss that place!”

12:13PM: He adds “My daughter was born in Hartford, so I’ll comeback here one day when she’ll grow up to show her that great city!”

To read more of this story, click here

News: Pavel Valentenko Cleared Waivers

Bob McKenzie tweeted that no waiver claims were put in on players placed on waivers over the weekend.

This means that Pavel Valentenko cleared and will be assigned to Hartford.

Note: Pavel Valentenko Hurt His Groin and Feels Better Playing In North America

At Blue Notes, Steve Zipay transcribes the interview that Bruce Berlet did at Howlings with Pavel Valentenko.

Tank said that he hurt his groin on Friday and didn’t tell the coaches because he didn’t want to come out of the game.

Valentenko said that he felt nervous in training camp this season and put a lot of pressure on himself to make the Rangers because his contract is up after this season.

He closed by saying that he likes the North American game and wants to stay here and try to make the Rangers.

Well the rumors were that the KHL was an option for him, and it sounds like it was, but he seems to prefer the North American style game more. Maybe he told the coaches about the injury after the game and that is why he was sent down. He is no good to them in Europe with a groin injury, so it makes more sense to send him down and let him rehab there. It is nice that he sounds committed to playing here, maybe he will get a chance this season.

He was placed on waivers yesterday and would clear tomorrow.

Buzz: Pavel Valentenko Could Head Back To Russia

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Valentenko needs to clear waivers to be sent down to Hartford. Some think that it could work in his favor to make the team.

[jbutton color="red" link="" size="xsmall"]CLICK HERE[/jbutton] for everything on Valentenko including why he went to Russia and why he came back.

[blackbirdpie url="!/HockeyRodent/status/117396840814624770"]

He is on the third pair tonight and playing with Brendan Bell, which I saw as his pairing in Hartford. He is in the last year of his contract, RFA after the year, and probably has a better chance to play and make money in the KHL. It could really open up a spot for Blake Parlett to move up on the depth chart.

Read: What Could Work In Pavel Valentenko’s Favor

In the NY Post, Larry Brooks notes that 23-year old defenseman Pavel  Valentenko would have to pass through waivers to be sent down to the Connecticut Whale.

Valentenko was paired with Dan Girardi during the Rangers scrimmage yesterday.

Last season Michael Sauer would have had to pass through waivers to be sent down.

Leslie Treff wrote at Hockey’s Future that Tank looked comfortable as Girardi’s partner yesterday.

Interesting development in the third pair defenseman search. Tim Erixon doesn’t need waivers and Michael Del Zotto still has about 50 or so games until he needs to pass through waivers. I think that both are ahead of Valentenko on the depth chart, but if it is close, do you try Tank there to start? He is an asset and I would hate to see them lose him to a waiver claim, but is that enough of a reason to have him start with the Rangers over Erixon or Del Zotto?

[jbutton color="red" link="" size="xsmall"]CLICK HERE[/jbutton] for all updates on Valentenko since he came back from Russia last summer.

Read: Rangers Rookie Watch

At Coming Down The Pipe, they look at some possible rookies for the Rangers this season.

Tim Erixon, Pavel Valentenko, Tomas Kundratek and Ryan Bourque are some of the players mentioned as possible candidates for roster spots.

Valentenko really did come close to making the team last season. He and Ryan McDonagh were the last cuts on defense and it will be interesting to see how he fares during camp. Kundratek is someone that most people forget about but he has a nice talent level. I think he could spend, at least, another year in the minors.

Bourque is a player that I am dying to see and like Carl Hagelin, who wasn’t mentioned, they could stick around in camp for a while or be players called up during the season. Erixon is clearly the favorite, but is far from a lock to land one of the final two spots.

[jbutton color="red" link="" size="xsmall"]CLICK HERE[/jbutton] for more on Valentenko.

[jbutton color="blue" link="" size="xsmall"]CLICK HERE[/jbutton] for more on Kundratek.

[jbutton color="white" link="" size="xsmall"]CLICK HERE[/jbutton] for more on Bourque

][jbutton color="orange" link="" size="xsmall"]CLICK HERE[/jbutton] for more on Erixon

Note: Pavel Valentenko Can Fire The Puck

At Howlings, Mitch Beck notes that defenseman Pavel Valentenko has a shot that is reminiscent of Chris Pronger, Sheldon Souray and Zdeno Chara.

More on Valentenko, HERE.

He had five goals last season and took 123 shots.

I have unfairly discounted him as someone who can take one of the final roster spots and win a job out of training camp. He hits, he has a shot and John Tortorella was a big fan of his last year. The best players in camp will make the team, and if Tank is one of them, he will make the team an either Tim Erixon or Michael Del Zotto, or possibly both if they only go with six, will end up in Hartford.

READ: Pavel Valentenko LOVES To Block Shots

At, they continue their “20 Prospects in 20 Days” series with a look at Pavel Valentenko.

Tank, who almost made the team last season after returning to North America, has a special place in his heart for blocking shots:

“One of his strengths would be shot-blocking. He loves to block shots and he’s fearless in that regard,” said Connecticut Whale head coach Gernander. “So that makes him a pretty strong penalty-killer. He’s going to be a defensive type of defenseman.”

Click HERE for more on how much Valentenko loves blocking shots.

 John Tortorella said last season that Tank was part of the Rangers core. He broke his nose in the pre-season last year and kept playing.

CLICK HERE to see where Valentenko ranks in the Rangers prospect rankings. He was named to the Rangers prospect team for this past season.

Read his profile from last season, HERE.

More on Tank HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

I tend to not think about Tank as much, but those last two spots are open to competition. If Tank is the best defenseman in training camp, he will get a spot. He kind of reminds me of Dan Girardi, at least from this reading. He has as good a chance to be a Ranger as Tim Erixon or Michael Del Zotto. The best player will make the team. Hopefully it leads to a great battle in training camp.

NOTE: The Rangers “All Prospect Team”

In the latest edition of The Hockey News they look at each team and devise an all prospect team.

  • Chad Johnson in goal.
  • Dylan McIlrath and Pavel Valentenko on defense.
  • Chris Kreider, Christian Thomas and Evgeny Grachev at forward.

Hard to argue with those picks. You can probably make an argument for Carl Hagelin over Grachev, but in the eyes of many, Grachev is still a top prospect for the Rangers.