In a surprising move, the Rangers have invited former New York Islanders third round pick Kirill Kabanov to training camp. He must be a late addition to camp, as it was not known he had been invited until rosters were announced. There has been plenty of speculation and hearsay about his character and actions off the ice, but he still has all the tools to be a top six NHL forward. Maybe at age 23 he has finally found the toolbox (or maturity) to make it all work?
The big question surrounding Kabanov is how badly does he want to make the NHL? He’ll for sure require some time or maybe a whole year in Hartford before the Rangers can consider him an option. He had a successful season for Skelleftea AIK in the Swedish Elite League last year and likely would have more lucrative contract options in Europe were the Rangers to not offer him a one-way contract out of camp. I would imagine the front office gathered a sense of his commitment level prior to offering him an invite, but we shall see.
I’m more excited about the idea of Kabanov. Though he’s the wrong ‘enigmatic’ Russian on my wish list *cough, Semin, cough*, I’m glad the Rangers were willing to take a flier on a young guy, with mad skillz, who has been slow to develop. With a lack of draft picks, they need to get creative adding talent to the organization.