26-Year-Old Defenseman – New York Rangers
Pavel Valentenko Contract Information:
Drafted in fourth-round of 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Valentenko signed a three-year contract with Dynamo Moscow in October of 2008.
Valentenko's rights have been traded from Montreal to the Rangers as part of the Scott Gomez deal, the Canadiens' official site reports.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
The 24-year-old Russian defenseman spent last season with the Connecticut Whale of the AHL and posted 21 points in 60 games. He'll likely open the season in the minors, but he could be a servicable fill-in if the Rangers experience any injuries and require some depth on the roster.
Valentenko had an excellent training camp last year, coming out of nowhere to be one of the last two defensemen cut. His 2010-11 campaign with AHL Connecticut was unremarkable (79 games; five goals, 12 assists), though he's expected to compete for one of the final defensive spots again this year in training camp.
Valentenko spent the last two years with Mosco Dynamo of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, but the oft-injured blueliner has since returned to America hoping to earn a spot with the Rangers out of training camp. Even if he does beat out the competition to earn a spot, he doesn't have enough offensive upside to warrant fantasy consideration.
Valentenko played in just a handful of games in the U.S. last year before heading overseas to play in Russia. He was traded this summer to New York, but it's unclear if that's going to persuade him to come back stateside this year.
Valentenko is a future stay-at-home defenseman for Montreal. He really opened eyes in the organization at training camp last year but now management wants to see his game elevate even more in his second season in the AHL.
Valentenko, who was outstanding at the 2007 World junior Championships for Team Russia, looks like a 2006 fifth-round steal at this point in his development. Valentenko has size, a decent shot and an edge to his game, but the organization would like to see him develop at the AHL level. Valentenko has a physical presence on the ice, he is a hard-nosed player.