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 NYRangers.com, 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.

Quote: Pavel Valentenko Is Working On His Shot

“I’ve had a hard shot all my life, but it has always gone the wrong way,” a smiling Valentenko said after practice Tuesday at the XL Center in Hartford. “Now I’ve been practicing my shot almost every day with (assistant coach) J.J. (Daigneault), and it goes in the net. I’ve worked on shooting quicker and hitting the net.”

Tank to Bruce Bertlet at CT Whale.com

He has 3 goals and 10 assists this season. He is also a +20, with 34 PIMS and 101 shots on goal.

Valentenko, 23, was one of the Rangers final cuts in training camp. He came back to North America this summer after returning to play in Russia to help out his family.

In training camp, John Tortorella called Valentenko part of the Rangers “core.” He also broke his nose in a game and kept playing.

Valentenko has been called “raw,” but has a “bomb” of a shot and loves to hit. He has also been called “solid.”

He is a RFA at the end of the season and the Rangers will need to qualify Valentenko at $550,000 this summer.

I loved him in training camp and the tools that he has. He should get a new contract and a chance to win one of the last two spots, or one if Bryan McCabe is signed next season, on defense.