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.

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.

Tweet: Pavel Valentenko Can Hit

[tweeted]http://twitter.com/HowlingsToday/status/27978068132[/tweeted]

…Something that the Rangers can use…

In time though, in time.

Tweet: Ryan McDonagh And Pavel Valentenko Are Part Of The Core

…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.

News: Rangers Send Down Ryan McDonagh, Pavel Valentenko

The Rangers have sent down Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valenenko to Hartford of the AHL

…Well I guess Michael Sauer is your 6th defenseman. Good for him. He deserves it.

McDonagh doesn’t have to go through waivers to be sent down while Sauer does have to pass through waivers

Mats Zuccarello and Dale Weise were also sent down

No other cuts were made today

…So we get no answer on Todd White and Derek Stepan yet.

Larry Brooks tweets that the Rangers could get to 23 players by placing Chris Drury and Vinny Prospal on IR.

The Rangers practice tomorrow at 9AM

To read more of this story, click here

Note: Pavel Valentenko Broke His Nose, Kept Playing

…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

Newsday: Pavel Valentenko Is Impressing

It’s previously been written about Valentenko’s BOMB of a shot and his raw and physical ability.

…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.