The Canucks are expected to be adding a young forward to their lineup as they’ve acquired winger Vitali Kravtsov from the Rangers. Going to New York is winger William Lockwood and a 2026 seventh-round draft pick. Both teams have announced the deal.
Kravtsov was the ninth-overall pick in 2018 but has struggled in limited NHL action and has just three goals and three assists in 28 games this season. He also played in 20 games back in 2020-21 and produced at a similar rate, notching two goals and two helpers in 20 contests.
Last season, Kravtsov opted to return to the KHL instead of reporting to New York, picking up 13 points in 17 games with Traktor Chelyabinsk during the regular season before adding seven goals in 15 playoff contests. That was enough for New York to give him a one-year, one-way $875K contract for this season. He’ll be arbitration-eligible this summer and will be owed a $840K qualifying offer.
To make room for Kravtsov on the roster, the Canucks announced (Twitter link) that center Curtis Lazar has been placed on injured reserve. It’s the second trip to the IR for the 28-year-old who has five goals and 124 hits in 45 games this season.
As for Lockwood, the 24-year-old has been up and down this season, getting into 13 games with Vancouver where he picked up an assist along with 37 hits while averaging just over 10 minutes per game. He has been more productive with AHL Abbotsford though, collecting a dozen goals and six assists in 26 contests. He’s on a one-year, two-way deal with $750K in the NHL and should remain in the minors with his new team.
It’s certainly an underwhelming return for Kravtsov, once viewed as a key piece of the future for the Rangers. However, his struggles in the NHL and the potential for him to return to the KHL certainly deflated his value. But this move, coupled with the waiving of Jake Leschyshyn earlier today, will open up some extra cap space for New York to try to add another piece down the stretch; Chicago winger Patrick Kane has been speculatively linked to them recently and these deletions would be enough to squeak him in at 25% of his AAV. Meanwhile, it’s about as low-risk an acquisition as possible for Vancouver who will now try to see if Kravtsov can become more of an impact player with a new organization.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report that Kravtsov was being traded to Vancouver.