It is not everyone's dream to make it to the National Hockey League. Or it is, but some aspiring prospects' dreams must change along the way. The New York Rangers had a tough time on their back end this season, which could open the doors to many young prospects next time around. However, one of them has decided he had enough and that he'd be living the dream elsewhere.
On Tuesday, it was reported that the Rangers have placed defenseman Alexei Bereglazov on unconditional waivers in hopes to terminate his contract with the team.
Back on April 21st last year, the Rangers agreed to terms with the Russian defenseman, whose contract made him a great addition to the Rangers’ defensive prospect pool. However, he did not manage to make the cut following the team's training camp in September. There were concerns about the big Russian’s ability to adapt to the North American ice surface, as the issue only increased after the Traverse City Prospect Tournament and the Rangers 2017 preseason.
However, he did show signs of improvement in Hartford at the beginning of the season. In 13 games with the Wolf Pack, Bereglazov had tallied one goal, added three assists and 14 penalty minutes, but he was still loaned to the KHL in November. He headed back to Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL as he was able to leave due to the European Assignment Clause in his contract. However, now, he simply wants out of the NHL.
In 27 games this season with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL, Bereglazov managed to record just three assists and added a total of four penalty minutes.
Rangers fans still expect many changes to come in the offseason, as the team made several moves at the trade deadline that will add on some younger players to the mix as the Blue Shirts enter a rebuilding phase. There could have been a spot for Bereglazov on the roster as the team heads into a retooling mode, but now GM Jeff Gorton will be able to focus on another pool of prospects.
Gorton should also pay attention to the draft and the free agency season first. Rangers fans got a sneak peak at their two 2017 first-round draft picks, Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil, at the end of the season, and could load up on some interesting picks this summer. There are also all these restricted free agents the Rangers have to make decisions on. Jimmy Vesey, Kevin Hayes, Ryan Spooner, Vladimir Namestnikov, Brady Skjei, John Gilmour, Ryan Sproul… Who returns?
One answer is certain: Bereglazov will not be one of them.