The New York Rangers have decided to send Vitali Kravtsov back to the KHL, at least for now. Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports that Kravtsov will be loaned back to Traktor Chelyabinsk for the 2020-21 season.
It’s been a very interesting year for Kravtsov, the ninth-overall pick from 2018. Last September it seemed as though he may challenge for a roster spot in the NHL with the Rangers, but after failing to make the team and being sent to the minor leagues things quickly went awry. Kravtsov was a healthy scratch for the Hartford Wolf Pack and played just five minor league games before exercising his European Assignment Clause to return to the KHL.
Less than two months after arriving in Russia though, he ended up back on a plane to Hartford where he spent the rest of the season. In all, Kravtsov played just 11 games for Traktor (scoring three points) while suiting up 39 times for the Wolf Pack. Splitting 50 games between two different leagues (and continents), while scoring only 18 points certainly isn’t the usual path for a top prospect with as much skill as Kravtsov, but that’s exactly what happened in this case.
Brooks does not specify whether Kravtsov will be back for NHL training camp in a few months, but even if he did there’s no telling for certain at this point. What is important, at least for fans of the Rangers hoping for another top offensive weapon, is that he’s going to be getting into game action quickly and (hopefully) consistently. Still just 20 years old, Kravtsov has a long playing career ahead of him and years of development to go.