After a recent demotion to the minor leagues in Russia, it appears as though Vitali Kravtsov will instead make his return to North America. Several reports out of Russia along with Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post have the top prospect returning to the New York Rangers organization after being loaned overseas earlier this season. Kravtsov made headlines when he decided to go to the KHL instead of continue in the AHL, but just a few days ago Rangers GM Jeff Gorton told Cyrgalis that he had reached out to the young forward’s agent in hopes of getting him back to the Hartford Wolf Pack.
The 19-year old Kravtsov was the ninth overall selection in 2018 and had a strong season in 2018-19 with Chelyabinsk Traktor of the KHL. After signing his entry-level contract with the Rangers he came close to cracking the opening night roster this year, but instead was sent to Hartford to continue his development. After just five AHL games the team and Kravtsov worked out an agreement to have him return to the KHL, where he scored three points in 11 games for Traktor before the demotion.
An important part of the Rangers future, Kravtsov’s playing time and development is obviously something the team wants to control. When he was in the KHL that wasn’t the case, but returning to North America also doesn’t guarantee him huge minutes in the minor leagues. There is still a long way to go for the 6’3″ winger if he wants to be a full-time, impact player at the NHL level.