New York Rangers followers have been excited to see what Vitali Kravtsov was able to as a rookie, however he is as an alternative struggling within the AHL. What ought to the Rangers do with their younger star prospect?Vitali Kravtsov|Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesIt wasn’t presupposed to be like this. This was supposed be the season the place the New York Rangers showcased their rebuild by introducing a load of younger expertise. Kaapo Kakko was presupposed to gentle the Calder Trophy race on hearth, Filip Chytil was presupposed to return as an improved sophomore and Lias Andersson and Vitali Kravtsov have been presupposed to be pivotal items of the staff’s assault.
However that couldn’t be farther from actuality.
Kakko has only one level by way of three video games, Andersson is enjoying restricted minutes on the fourth line. And Chytil has been plying his commerce within the AHL, off to a scorching begin with 5 factors in his first 4 video games. However maybe essentially the most puzzling improvement has been the shortage of precisely that – improvement – for Kravtsov, who not solely missed out on an opening-night roster spot within the NHL however has been largely invisible with the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Sending Kravtsov to the AHL straight away wasn’t surprising. He hadn’t performed in North America past event motion, so some seasoning was wanted. In addition to, at 19, there was no purpose to hurry him. That’s to not point out within the AHL, Kravtsov appeared primed to skate constant top-six minutes and see work on the facility play, each of which he wouldn’t get within the NHL. However the expectation was that Kravtsov would head to the minors, make good on the chance and begin sturdy, all of the whereas making the case for a fast call-up to the NHL. None of that has occurred. After sitting as a wholesome scratch in what would have been his second sport, Kravtsov’s stat line reads zero photographs and one help by way of three video games with the Wolf Pack, the place he has skated alongside Boo Nieves and Matt Beleskey.
So, what do the Rangers do now? In a great world, Kravtsov would have been as much as exchange Brendan Smith, a pure defenseman, as New York’s third-line left winger. However the Rangers can’t merely give Kravtsov a spot attributable to his potential. He must earn it. And he hasn’t. Whether or not attributable to an absence of motivation or the shortcoming to regulate to his new environment instantly, he hasn’t but discovered his footing in Hartford. And now a report from Sport-Specific’ Igor Eronko means that Kravtsov is contemplating exercising the European project clause in his contract and returning to the KHL.
Having the European clause in his contract suggests the Rangers have been tremendous with the potential of Kravtsov transferring again residence for a bit if issues didn’t work straight away. And such a clause isn’t all that uncommon. Winnipeg Jets prospect Kristian Vesalainen took that path final season. After failing to stay with the Jets, he performed 5 video games within the AHL earlier than heading to the KHL. The upside? If Kravtsov finishes the season within the KHL, he has a chance to return previous to the NHL playoffs. If there’s a spot open then, it may give Kravtsov a spot on the big-league roster by season’s finish. And possibly a return residence wouldn’t be the worst factor at this level. For a participant his age, skating massive minutes in opposition to high competitors may be what’s finest for his continued improvement.
There’s no simple reply with reference to Kravtsov’s subsequent steps, however his present state of affairs doesn’t appear to working. And if there isn’t room for Kravtsov increased within the Wolf Pack’s lineup by the top of October, it may be time let him rebuild his confidence within the KHL earlier than he tries his hand in North America once more subsequent season.
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Tags: ny rangers, nhlConnect: Concerning the AuthorSteven EllisSteven Ellis is a Digital Content material Producer for The Hockey Information. He spends his free time listening to music you would not like and watches obnoxiously-long motor races.