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Vitali Kravtsov

Watch: Vitali Kravtsov’s goal in Hartford on Saturday

Vitali Kravtsov scored his first goal for the Wolf Pack on Saturday.

He skated on Hartford’s top line with Danny O’Regan and Steven Fogarty.

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Vitali Kravtsov

Vitali Kravtsov is officially coming back to North America

12/13 | 3:22PM: The Rangers have confirmed that Kravtsov has been recalled and assigned to Hartford.
11:50AM: The KHL announced that Kravtsov’s contract with Traktor has been terminated.

12/12 | 5:47PM: David Quinn said of Kravtsov on Thursday, “There is a lot of talent there and a lot of guys go through an adjustment period when they come from Europe to adapt to the North American style hockey. He’s a 20-year old kid that is learning what it takes to have success over here.” (NYR)

2:30PM: Vitali Kravtsov is returning to North America after spending the last month or so playing in Russia. (Eronko)

Kravtsov will fly to North America tomorrow and will play with Hartford. (Sport-Express)

In a post on Instagram, Kravtsov wrote “I would like to say to the fans, thank you very much for supporting and experiencing in such a difficult period !! To thank the coaching staff, management, team staff, and of course the players who were pleasant to play with in the same team and see each other in the locker room, this is the situation, so I wish the team great victories without injuries, and the fans patience and faith in the team, thanks Chelyabinsk , behind the black stripe is always white.”

The Rangers loaned Kravtsov to the KHL in late October but retained the right to call him back to North America if they chose to.

Rangers GM Jeff Gorton said earlier this week that the Rangers were interested in bringing Kravtsov back, especially if he was going to play in the KHL’s minor league.

Adam Rotter: It has been a very odd Fall season for Kravtsov but he is going to be back where the Rangers want him and can work with him day to day. He’s going to Hartford and will hopefully embrace it, work hard and force the Rangers into calling him up with strong play. The Wolf Pack have had a terrific start to the year and he will likely step into a top-nine role and produce offensively.

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Vitali Kravtsov

Rangers interested in bringing Vitali Kravtsov back to North America

Rangers GM Jeff Gorton said on Monday that he has had conversations recently with Vitali Kravtsov’s agent to discuss where it would be best for Kravtsov to play. (NY Post, Newsday)

Kravtsov returned to the KHL in October but was recently demoted to the KHL minor leagues.

In the KHL this season, Kravtsov has 2 goals, 1 assist, 17 shots on goal and an average of 14:24 per game.

In his past two KHL games though, Kravtsov saw 9:04 and then just 41 seconds.

Gorton said that the organization want Kravtsov to “play” and that if he isn’t getting enough ice time in Russia, the Rangers would prefer a situation where they would be in control of his ice time. (NY Post, Newsday)

Adam Rotter: Kravtsov was likely to return to North America anyway when his season in Russia ended, this just may speed up the process a little. My guess is that they look to see how things play out in Russia over the rest of this month or so and re-evaluate in 2020. It should go without saying that if Kravtsov does return to North America, he’s going to Hartford and will have to earn his way onto the Rangers roster.

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Vitali Kravtsov

Vitali Kravtsov is returning to the KHL

Vitali Kravtsov is exercising the European Assignment clause in his contract and signing a contract with his former KHL team Traktor Chelyabinsk, according to Larry Brooks.

Kravtsov’s European Assignment clause became active today and is only part of his contract for this season.

Kravtsov, despite not turning 20 until December 23, is considered to be 20-years old and thus his entry-level contract can not slide.

The Rangers could recall Kravtsov at any point this season to return to the NHL. (Brooks)

In the AHL this season Kravtsov had one assist, a minus two rating and two shots on goal in five games. Larry Brooks notes that Kravtsov was scratched in one game for the Wolf Pack and benched for stretches it two other games.

While with the Wolf Pack Kravtsov skated mostly with Matt Beleskey at LW and either Boo Nieves or Danny O’Regan at center.

Brooks adds that the Rangers worked with Kravtsov’s agent during this process and did not want an “adversarial” relationship to develop.

Adam Rotter: In the long run this is likely, hopefully, only a blip in what will be a long and productive career for Kravtsov and the Rangers. It’s not ideal that he is returning to the KHL, bigger ice and less of an NHL style game, but I’d bet he returns when the KHL season ends and plays in 10-15 games for the Rangers.

The Rangers view Kravtsov as a huge part of this rebuild/build and were not going to force him to be unhappy in Hartford when he has this clause in his contract. He negotiated to have this right for one-year in his contract and is taking advantage of it. There isn’t a great history of teenagers coming directly from the KHL to the NHL with most Russian teenagers in the KHL coming from the CHL and playing in North America.

Traktor’s last regular season game is 2/20 so Kravtsov will be back with the Rangers probably somewhere around the trade deadline.

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Vitali Kravtsov

What is going on with Vitali Kravtsov?

10/24/19 | Bob McKenzie said on (TSN) that Kravtsov can exercise his European Assignment clause beginning Friday 10/25.

McKenzie notes that Kravtsov only has a European Assignment clause for this season. (TSN)

10/19: Both The Athletic and NY Post say that nothing has changed with Kravtsov and that he played for Hartford last night and is expected to play again tonight.

Kravtsov could opt to exercise his Euro assignment clause and then potentially return when those seasons end.

10/16 9:27AM: According to Igor Eronko, Vitali Kravtsov is reportedly considering a return to the KHL this season through the European assignment clause in his contract.

Larry Brooks tweets that as of yesterday, he was told that there had been no discussions on this topic between the Rangers and Kravtsov.

Eronko tweeted on 10/13, “Kravtsov is the guy who produces and produces when the coach believes in him. When it’s not a thing, Vitali usually just can’t find himself up.”

Kravtsov has played in three of the Wolf Pack’s first four games this season, picking up an assist, a minus one rating and 0 shots on goal.

He has skated with with Matt Beleskey and Boo Nieves in the past two Wolf Pack games.

Following Kravtsov being scratched in Hartford’s second game, Jeff Gorton said that he wasn’t concerned.

When Kravtsov was sent down at the end of training camp:

 

  • What Jeff Gorton said, “highly skilled guy that is a young player and trying to figure out North American hockey. Flashes of really good things, especially on the PP – we can all see his skill and thinking and hands. I don’t think he is too far away, but I think 20-minutes is a better service to him than 7-8-9 minutes and not knowing if he’s going to be in the lineup. Those are the conversations we had and decisions we made.”
  • What David Quinn said, “he came a long way since Traverse, and this is a mans league and he and I have talked about the difference between here and the KHL and how much faster and physical it is and I liked how each game he became more engaged and physical and his pace got better and better, but for a guy who wouldn’t be in the top-nine, it’s better for his development that he is down there playing in a very good league, being coached by our staff down there, we feel very confident with what is going on in Hartford, that he is going to really benefit from his time down there.”

Adam Rotter: There  seem to be a few different angles/perceptions at play here with Kravtsov. One is that he was sent to Hartford because they didn’t have a top-nine spot for him and that now that Namestnikov has been traded and Brendan Smith is on the third-line, at least for tomorrow, the Rangers are making a mistake by not calling him up. The other side of that is that Kravtsov proved in camp that he isn’t NHL ready and that even if injuries occurred and multiple spots opened up, I think you’d see Filip Chytil, Boo Nieves, Danny O’Regan or Phil Di Giuseppe called up before him. Why? Because he hasn’t earned his spot in the NHL yet. If Kravtsov puts up 15 points in the next 10 games, then he would certainly move up on that list, but he’s played three games, has one, assist and zero shots. The Rangers LOVE Kravtsov but aren’t going to put him in the lineup just because he was the 9th overall pick, or that the Isles had Oliver Wahlstrom in their lineup, or that Brendan Smith, Micheal Haley or Greg McKegg are in the lineup. Kravtsov will get his chance but he has to earn it in Hartford and go through the growing pains of playing in a new country, in a new rink and new styles.

 

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Vitali Kravtsov

Vitali Kravtsov is excited for Traverse City

Vitali Kravtsov said on Thursday that he spent the whole summer in the USA working in the gym, skating with his teammates and getting stronger. (NYR)

He added that he has been looking forward to the Traverse City tournament all summer and that right now his focus is only on the upcoming tournament, not training camp.

Nikolai Bobrov, the Rangers Director of Euro scouting, said Kravtsov “showed the world” at the World Juniors the kind of “uncanny skill” and “very rare hockey sense.” (NYR)

He added that lot of scouts came up to the Rangers to compliment them on how good Kravtsov has been so far and the player he will turn out to be. (NYR)

Gordie Clark has said that Kravtsov is going to be a “top-line player” and compared him to Evgeni Kuznetsov in his skill and “no-nonsense personality.” (The Hockey News)

Clark said that Kravtsov has taken his game to another level and added, “his hockey IQ is through the roof.” (NYR)

Chris Drury said that Kravtosv is “so smart” and that the way he sees things on the ice and how quickly he is able to process them is “extremely exciting for us.” (The Athletic)

Alexi Kruchnin, who played with Kravtsov in the KHL, also said that he is similar to Kuznetsov, adding that he has “great potential.” (Sport24)

John Davidson said recently that Kravtsov is an example of the kind of player the Rangers want, “he came in, I think yesterday, and will be here the duration and will learn the language and I like that. He’s going to work with people that can work with conditioning, nutrition, there is a guy that seems pretty darn committed. That is the type of stuff you want.”

Chris Peters listed Kravtsov, along with K’Andre Miller, as “A” prospects currently in the Rangers system. (ESPN)

Corey Pronman of The Athletic ranked Kravtsov as the Rangers #2 prospect, adding that he has “game-breaking skill” and the ability to beat “even some of the best NHL defensemen with his 1-on-1 moves.”