New York Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov won’t be playing in the minor leagues much longer, but that doesn’t mean he’s on his way to the NHL. The young forward will exercise his European Assignment Clause to return to the KHL and sign with Traktor Chelyabinsk, according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post.
It is important to note that this does not void his entry-level contract and the Rangers will retain control of Kravtsov. In fact, they could actually recall him from the KHL at any point this season if they want to bring him to the NHL. It does not mean that they will have to fight to convince him to come back over next season.
For the player, the reasoning for this move is obvious. Kravtsov had played just five games for the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL this season, sitting as a healthy scratch for one game and being benched for long stretches of several others. In the KHL he will likely be given a bigger opportunity, though the Rangers will not have as much control over his development.
Selected ninth overall in 2018, there are few prospects in the league that posses as much upside as Kravtsov. The 19-year old winger has a long reach and staggering puck skills, but can fall into the habit of staying to the outside and not contributing when he is away from the puck.