When the New York Rangers traded Michael Grabner on Thursday night, they received a 2018 second round pick and D Yegor Rykov. Who is this kid?
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 23, 2018
The 20-year-old Rykov was selected in the fifth round (132nd overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the New Jersey Devils. He is currently playing for the St. Petersburg SKA, of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). His teammates may be familiar to many hockey fans, including Ilya Kovalchuk, former Atlanta Thrasher and New Jersey Devil and currently the number one goaltending prospect for the Rangers Igor Shestyorkin.
Rykov’s stats and Bio:
Based on my recent conversation with Devils assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald, here's what I've got on D Yegor Rykov: (20, 6-2, 205, St. Petersburg SKA, KHL) – Poised puck mover but must be more agile. Not leaving KHL soon. (Acquired: 2016 draft, 132nd overall)
— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) February 23, 2018
Devils beat writer Andrew Gross listed Rykov as 6-foot-2, 205 pounds and “a poised puck mover but must be more agile.” The kicker here is not “leaving the KHL soon.” Rykov has one more year remaining on his contract, which expires Apr. 30, 2019, with SKA St. Petersburgh.
Rykov, 20, has skated in 51 games with SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL this season, registering two goals and 12 assists for 14 points, along with a plus-13 rating. He has established KHL career-highs in games played, goals, assists, points, and plus/minus rating this season. #NYR
— NYR Stats & Info (@NYRStatsInfo) February 23, 2018
In 51 games played in the KHL, he has registered two goals and 12 assists for 14 points with a plus-13 rating. He participated in the 2017 World Junior Championships as he played for Russia. He was an assistant captain who recorded one goal with six assists for seven points as Russia took the Bronze medal.
It appears that the Devils were high on Rykov, but were concerned with his KHL contract status. Steve Kournianos of The Draft Analyst tweeted that Rykov keeps a tight gap and locks down the slot. He feels Rykov is a very smart player and NHL-ready.
Rykov is a very good defenseman who can compliment a kid like Skjei or Shattenkirk. Russian/KHL situation likely reason for getting passed over in 2015 and going late in 2016. Excellent first pass, keeps a tight gap and locks down the low slot. Very smart and NHL ready.
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) February 23, 2018
Perhaps this could play to the Rangers’ advantage. With Shestyorkin the rumored heir to Henrik Lundqvist, maybe he can put a thought in Rykov’s ear to come across to North since they are now the property of the New York Rangers.
Rykov looks to get involved offensively for SKA as well. Is it a win-win? No one is sure just yet but, so far, it looks to be a great move.
Here's a good look at Rykov (#NYR) getting involved offensively this season. Starts move w/ diagonal pass at his own blueline and jumps all the way in. Picks out Plotnikov for the tipped shot. pic.twitter.com/gKxGNiHCNi
— Alex Nunn (@aj_ranger) February 23, 2018