Bits and pieces of information have been released in the past couple of months that hinted at the Rangers signing 2009 7th round pick Mikhail Pashnin. Slava Malamud of Sports Express in Russia quotes CSKA Moscow (Pashnin’s KHL team) president Slava Fetisov as being “upset” about “Pashnin’s signing with the Rangers.” So while official word hasn’t come from the Rangers or any of the local beat writers, it’s safe to say that Pashnin will be making the trip over to North America for training camp a signed member of the organization.
Despite the typical sterotypes of Russian hockey players, Pashnin is an incredibly physical defenseman. I’ve seen comparisons to Darius Kasparaitis thrown around, though only in a playing-style sense. He also is solid on the puck. The difference will be if his defensive play can improve enough to make him reliable enough to play at the NHL level. Pashnin will get his shot to make the team in training camp just like everyone else but it’s probable that he plays in the AHL for at least this first year. While he hasn’t made a place for himself in the NHL yet, this is still a good reminder that every draft pick matters. After being drafted 200th overall, Pashnin has a legitimate, though unlikely, shot of playing with the Rangers at some point this upcoming season.