Alexei Cherepanov, the New York Rangers' first pick (No. 17) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, has died after suffering an apparent heart attack Monday during a game with Avangard Omsk, his club in the Kontinental Hockey League.
The 19-year-old Cherepanov had 8 goals and 13 points in 15 games this season, his third with Omsk.
Cherepanov had scored the game's first goal in what ended as a 5-4 loss for Omsk against Vityav Chekhov.
"We are extremely saddened by the tragic passing of Alexei," said Rangers General Manager Glen Sather. "On behalf of the New York Rangers organization, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family. Alexei was an intelligent, energetic young man, with tremendous talent and an extremely bright future."
The Rangers had been hoping to bring Cherepanov to New York for the club's prospect evaluation camp or training camp, but with the lack of a formal transfer agreement between the NHL and International Ice Hockey Federation, Cherepanov remained in Russia, with the Rangers hoping to bring him over for the 2009-10 season.