Tuesday: Igor Eronko of Sport-Express tweets today that Traktor GM Evgeny Gubarev told him the team won’t be terminating Kravtsov’s contract. That would mean the young forward is not able to sign a contract this season, or play in any games for the Rangers.
Sunday: The New York Rangers continue to negotiate with KHL team Traktor Chelyabinsk to get their top prospect and 2018 first-round pick, Vitali Kravtsov to come to New York, but there is no guarantee that the Rangers will be able to get a deal done, according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post.
Kravtsov, the ninth-overall pick, stayed in Russia this season and put up solid numbers as a 19-year-old in the KHL, including eight goals and 21 points in 50 games. However, despite Traktor Chelyabinsk eliminated from the KHL playoffs last Monday, Kravtsov’s contract still runs through April 30th, which means the Rangers must work out a deal to release him from his deal even if he has no games let to play. The team would like to bring him to North America, so the 19-year-old can get acclimated to the U.S. as quickly as possible.
To make matters even more complex, there is a question of whether the team wants to sign him right away to an entry-level deal this year. With 14 games remaining in New York’s season, the team would probably like to avoid burning the first-year of his deal, which would force the Rangers to have to protect him in the eventual expansion draft for the Seattle franchise. If he doesn’t begin that entry-level deal until next year, Kravtsov would be exempt from the expansion draft which would allow the Rangers to protect one extra player in 2021.
Unfortunately for New York, Brooks also adds that an Amateur Try Out (ATO), which would allow Kravtsov to play with the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack, is also highly unlikely. That would suggest that the team may not bring him over until this summer, and because he’s a candidate to play for Russia at the World Championships this summer, he may not arrive until late summer.