“He’s got a bomb of a shot and he’s always ready to shoot. I like his innocence. He’s not afraid to stand up and hit someone in the middle of the ice. Some guys get upset with it. But he’s a guy who wants to stand up and be counted.”
John Tortorella to Andrew Gross of the Record
…He could be a real darkhorse to make the team but it seems unlikely for this season. A year in Hartford he could have a spot on next years team. He is only 22 and very much like why the Canadiens traded Ryan McDonagh to the Rangers, because they thought he wouldn’t sign, once Vally went to Russia they probably thought he was gone for good.
He said over the summer that he went to Russia because the contract could help his family
Last week it was announced that the Rangers prospect Pavel Valentenko will return to North America for this coming season.
According to Dan David, who profiles Valentenko in the Rangers 20 Prospects In 20 Days Series, Valentenko only left for Russia because he needed to take care of his family and the contract he could get in the KHL could do that.
…Family comes first, and hopefully this gets rid of the stigma that comes with players who leave for the KHL.
Valentenko will be at the Rangers prospect camp in July and then at training camp which starts on September 17th.
Update:9:35AM: According to Dmitry Chesnokov, Valentenko will take part in the Rangers prospect camp.
Original Post: 5:37PM: June 17th:
According to Laurie from Beyond The Blueshirts, citing Russian reports, Rangers prospect Pavel Valentenko is expected to return to North America for next season.
Valentenko was acquired in the Scott Gomez deal along with Ryan McDonagh and Christopher Higgins.
…He is always forgotten about, Laurie says he has one year left on his contract so that could put him in Hartford.
He isn’t ranked as one of the Rangers top 20 Prospects
Fifth Update: Carp, who first said that the Dany Heatley deal would happen tonight, has backed off that statement.
Now it sounds as if the Rangers are done for the night—I was wondering why they had the Glen Sather conference call so early. And if they are done for the night, that probably means they are done in the dealing for Dany Heatley.
Earlier I said it looked like it was getting done. Apparently what I was actually hearing but not comprehending was the Gomez deal going down. Sorry about that.
Check out Carp over at Rangers Report.
Fourth Update: Here are some of the quotes from Sather and Higgins conference call:
- “We’ve got lots of cap room now, and it opens lots of options.”
- “Torts has talked about the young guys all year and we wanted to make some room for them, and we did.”
- “Since this deal happened I’ve had three calls (from other teams), and it doesn’t take long for people to realize you’re going to make some changes.”
- “Higgins has been a goal scorer, he has the ability to score some goals. I think he’s a terrific player. He’s excited to be coming home.”
Sather doesn’t expect a problem signing Higgins who was given his qualifying offer.
- “When I heard it happened, I was thrilled. If there was one place I was going to play other than Montreal, it would be in front of my friends and family.”
- “l like to play a relentless style. I like to be moving the whole time I’m out there for my shift. I pride myself in my work ethic.”
- “I’ve always liked the way (Tortorella’s) teams have played. They don’t seem they take their foot off the gas pedal very often. Playing against the Rangers, they were one of the hardest teams to play against.”
Higgins was hurt three times last season which should attribute to his low statistics.
Monzo: Outstanding job by Sather here. To free up the Gomez money and to add Chris Higgins who can be a 2nd or 3rd line center as well as adding more depth on D with Ryan McDonagh is huge.
Third Update: Rick Carpiniello of the Journal News reports that he has been told that Dany Heatley will be a Ranger tonight.
Second Update: The Rangers have announced the deal via press release and here is how it shakes out.
- Scott Gomez, Tommy Pyatt and Mike Busto.
To the Rangers:
- Chris Higgins and defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko
McDonagh was Montreal’s first round pick in 2007 and was rated as their top prospect by Hockey’s Future.
UPDATE: TSN says that Scott Gomez is going back to Montreal in the deal.
Kevin Allen of USA Today reports, via twitter, that the Montreal Canadiens have traded Chris Higgins rights to the Rangers.
Higgins is due to be an RFA tomorrow.
Wow, the Scott Gomez era is over in NY and it appears that the Dany Heatley one is about to begin. More reaction to this later. I do like Chris Higgins, if he is re-signed they add more scoring depth and Ryan Mcdonagh as Montreal’s top prospect could just be the icing on the cake.