In late March came word from his RSL club’s website that “(Cherapanov) has declared that his agent and Russian club have been in negotiations with the New York Rangers regarding his departure to the NHL. According to the interview a compromise was found and he will remain in Russia for another season. The likely driver for him remaining in Russia was the club’s poor performance this year and the pressure to keep the talented forward in the fold.”
Statistically he seems to have run in place this season:
- 06-07 RSL 45gp, 18-11-29, +15
- 07-08 RSL 46gp, 15-12-27, +5
Let’s review some of the draft hype about him:
- 8:41PM EST on draft night. Pierre Maguire: “The fact that Alexei Cherepanov is sliding right now is unconscionable. This is a bizarro move.”
- After selecting him we find out Rangers GM Glen Sather is said to have attempted two draft-day trades to try to move up and secure Cherepanov, after making four separate trips to Russia to specifically scout him.
- After the draft, Cherepanov’s Russian agent said he would stay 2 more years, while his North American agent said one more year.
Three players made the NHL straight from the 1st round of the 2007 edition of the Entry Draft:
- 1st overall: Patrick Kane (82gp, 21-51-72)
- 6th overall: Sam Gagner (79gp, 13-36-49)
- 26th overall: David Perron (62gp, 13-14-27)
Cherepanov finished in a tie for 27th in RSL scoring this season, and his size (6-1, 178) would have to be considered the biggest concern in terms of an NHL future. The best words on him remain the ones we heard before he was drafted:
Some scouts look at Cherepanov, a right winger, and see a good skater with a nice goal-scoring touch and the potential to be an impact player in the NHL. Others see an underachiever who is prone to losing his focus, has no interest in playing defense and suffers from something akin to an attitude pointer.
Many gifted young prospects have that kind of “enigma” scouting report attached to them. His scouting report resembles (a little bit) that of another Russian taken in the 1st round by the Rangers, Alexei Kovalev. When Kovalev was 19 (Cherapanov’s age this fall) he was scoring 20 goals as a gifted NHL rookie. The decision to remain in Russia for another season would in some way seem to be recognition that this player is somewhat behind the pace set by Kovalev at the same age, and we should also mention that the lack of an agreement between the RSL and the NHL may be a contributing factor in his staying in Russia for another year.