After getting drafted 79th overall by the New York Rangers in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, and playing the last two season with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League, Sergei Zborovskiy was recently signed to an entry-level contract. In this translated interview, originally appearing on the Russian website Sport-Express, Rangers prospect Sergei Zborovskiy talked about his new contract, the Rangers development camp, and plans for the next season.
* To enjoy the original Russian article by Evgeny Belousov, follow this link.*
Evgeny Belousov: What emotions did you get signing the contract with the Rangers?
Sergei Zborovskiy: I felt the most positive and best emotions of my life. It’s my first professional contract and I’m so glad to have signed it.
EB: Who told you this joyful news?
SZ: My agent called me and, and sent the contract via email. I was on vacation with my family. I simply signed it and sent back the scanned version.
EB: What were you up to in the offseason?
SZ: I recently returned from my first development camp. It was held about a week ago at Madison Square Garden. Other than me the camp was attended by a couple of Russian-speaking guys, Pavel Buchnevich (who also was recently signed to an ELC by the Rangers) and Dmitry Buinitsky from Dinamo Minsk. It was fun there.
EB: What was new for you at the camp?
SZ: We were told how to behave, how to eat correctly, what we should do to prepare our best for the season. We had some interesting drills on the ice. I’ll try to use all I learned during the next season.
EB: What do you know about the New York Rangers franchise?
SZ: I know that they most recently won the Stanley Cup in the ’90s, and it was good that they had four Russian players at those times: Alexei Kovalev, Sergei Nemchinov, Sergei Zubov, and Alexander Karpovtsev.
EB: You signing a contract automatically means that you’ll attend the September training camp?
SZ: I’d go there even without signing this contract. Before its start there is the rookie tournament and the best players will take part in the training camp.
EB: So at the end of the camp we’ll know where you’ll spend next season?
SZ: According to the CHL rules, European players can’t play in the AHL until they turn 20, therefore I really have only two options: either play in the WHL or in the NHL.
EB: You don’t regret you moved to Canada early, right?
SZ: I never did. Every player chooses his own path. Some players are better off in Russia, while others choose to play in North America. Everyone follows his path, and it’s different for every player. I moved overseas and all went great.
EB: Do you still have contacts with Dynamo Moscow, who owns your KHL rights?
SZ: My agent talked with their representatives. They wanted to know if I was thinking about going back, but me and my agent decided that it would have been better for me to keep on playing in North America.
EB: Do you think you’re ready for pro hockey?
SZ: Frankly speaking, I never thought about it, I just try working hard and doing my best. If I’m be sent back to the WHL, I won’t be sad. We have a good team in Regina. They are waiting for me, they count on me. I am sure that we can fight for the WHL title and the Memorial Cup.
EB: During last season, did you play often against the league’s champion Brandon Wheat Kings, who feature Russian defenseman Ivan Provorov?
SZ: Games between the Pats and Wheat Kings are a good feat since long before me and Ivan got to the league. Almost like Spartak and CSKA Moscow. Each game between those two teams is a true derby.
EB: Last year you weren’t called to the WJC. Do you think you will skate there this season?
SZ: It’s too early to talk about that, but I think that last year’s experience at the Super Series and at the December camp, other than the development I had during the season, will help me to get to Team Russia lineup.