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.
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.
“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.”
…There are so many people angry with the fact that McDonagh is starting in Hartford. I don’t see it as a detriment to his game. Don’t you want to keep as many assets as you can so that they play well for the Rangers or that they can play well enough to be moved for something in return. Losing Sauer for nothing would have been bad, you never want to lose someone for nothing, and its not like McDonagh blew him out of the water. If he did, McDonagh would be here right now.
Did the Rangers do something that was safe and keep Sauer because of waivers, maybe. But what is wrong with protecting your assets. McDonagh is 22 and was jumping from college. Some AHL time couldn’t hurt.
…This dude is AWESOME. He is just AWESOME. Breaks his nose, no problem. Someone to hit, he does it. A shot to take, he does it. He should probably go to Hartford to refine his bad-ass game, but man, he is someone to be excited about for the future
…With a little more seasoning, Valentenko could make this years team, but I feel like he is just a little too raw. I don’t think you bring a guy like Valentenko in if you are trying to make the playoffs this year like the Rangers are. He will hit, he will take his bomb of a shot, but he will take penalties and he just looks like he needs at least half a season in Hartford to get some kinks worked out.
He shouldn’t be the seventh defenseman and since I believe that Ryan McDonagh will capture the final defense spot, it comes down to Steve Eminger vs Michael Sauer for that spot.