The New York Rangers off-season is underway after being eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning. New York made their first summer move, signing forward Vitali Kravtsov to a one-year deal worth $875,000. Kravtsov was selected 9th overall back in 2018, coming from the KHL with high expectations.
— Dan Milstein-Hockey (@HockeyAgent1) June 12, 2022
Kravtsov Returns to Broadway
Vitali Kravstov has not had the most ideal path of development. The 22-year-old has played in 2o games with the Rangers, notching two goals and two assists. His short NHL experience all came during the shortened 2020-21 season. Despite not having many opportunities in North America, Kravtsov has seen success overseas.
In 19 games with Traktor Chelyabinsk Kravtsov recorded six goals and seven assists for 13 points. In addition, he scored seven goals and three assists in 15 playoff games. Listed at 6’3 193 pounds, Vitali is widely considered to be a power forward. Kravtsov can play up and down the lineup, providing a goal-scorer’s touch to any lineup.
Kravtsov brings a solid, physical playing style to his team, a factor New York addressed just prior to the 2021-22 season. He also adds a quick transitional threat on offence to compliment his line-mates. Vitali is more than capable of playing defence in his own end. The best part of Kravtsov’s game is his hands and crafty playing style. They don’t call him “Crafty Kravtsov” for nothing.
Ben Kerr ranked Kravtsov as the Rangers’ third best prospect last summer. He said the following:
“Kravtsov is a skilled offensive player. He pairs his great skating ability with outstanding hands. He can stickhandle in a phone booth. This makes him absolutely deadly in one-on-one situations. The best part of his game is that he can make all these moves and handle the puck while moving at top speed. If defenders back off to respect his speed and stickhandling, he has a deadly arsenal of shots that he can put on the net. Kravtsov has a very good wrist shot and snapshot. Both shots feature a quick release. With the hands to also score in tight, he’s a natural sniper.
Kravtsov also has the vision and passing skill to be a playmaker off the wing, though he is more of a shoot-first player. If there is a criticism of Kravtsov’s offensive game, it is that he does not always make the best decisions with the puck. He can skate himself into trouble by trying to do it all himself or to dangle too many defenders at once. He could stand to smarter with the puck and keep it moving, utilizing linemates more effectively.”
The Full Scouting Report can be found here.
The New York Rangers have signed forward Vitali Kravtsov to a one-year, one-way contract extension, according to his agent. https://t.co/Y9WmMDxEZt
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 12, 2022
What This Means for the Future
Kravtsov is expected to make his return right at the start of summer. He plans to train in New York for the off-season. Following being cut from the opening night roster by head coach, Gerard Gallant, Kravtsov has an opportunity to prove himself with a one-year deal.
Kravtsov will most likely slot anywhere within the Rangers’ top-nine forward group on the right-wing. He will fill the vacancy of either Andrew Copp, Frank Vatrano, or both depending on Chris Drury‘s game plan. Rangers fans should be excited to receive their former 9th overall pick back for one last chance.