This season hasn’t gone according to plan for New York Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov. Coming into training camp it seemed as though the 19-year old was destined for a roster spot in the NHL and a chance to show exactly what he can do after scoring 21 points in the KHL last season. Unfortunately that didn’t work out as planned and Kravtsov was sent to the minor leagues to start the year, and then subsequently made a healthy scratch by the Hartford Wolf Pack. With one assist in three games for Hartford to date, rumblings are now beginning over where Kravtsov will spend the rest of the year.
His entry-level contract does include a European Assignment Clause, which he could exercise at some point to return to the KHL, should he be kept in the minor leagues. That’s exactly what he’s considering according to Igor Eronko of Sport-Express, though it is important to note that Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports that as of Tuesday afternoon, there had been no discussion on that topic between the Kravtsov camp and the Rangers.
Whether there has been any talk or not, the fact is that Kravtsov hasn’t found his footing in North America yet and still does hold that clause. Heading back overseas is not necessarily a bad thing depending on how the team feels his development is going, but obviously they will hope to be involved in the decision.
Selected ninth overall in 2018, the 6’3″ Russian winger has one of the highest offensive ceilings of any draft prospect, but still needs work putting it all together at the professional level. Should he exercise the clause at any point, it does not void his NHL contract and he could still be recalled by the Rangers.