New York Rangers seeking draft pick for Vitali Kravtsov

Dec 5, 2022; New York, New York, USA; St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) makes a glove save during the third period in front of New York Rangers right wing Vitali Kravtsov (74) at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

As the New York Rangers keep picking up points in their quest to return to the playoffs and go further than they did last season, they’re actively looking to trade unused forward Vitali Kravtsov.

The Rangers top-nine is set for this season, and Kravtsov isn’t a fourth line player. He made an appearance in the team’s win over the Seattle Kraken last Friday after being scratched for four straight games. Since that contest, he’s been a healthy scratch for the last two victories and isn’t expected to play for the Rangers again.

“I’ve mentioned it before to him, he’s a top-nine player, and right now, he’s not in our top nine,” Gerard Gallant said on Monday. “He’s not going to be a fourth-line player… Kravy has come a long way this year, but I’m putting my top-nine forwards out there and he’s not one of them.”

Rangers seeking draft pick for Vitali Kravtsov

new york rangers draft
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Kravtsov, 23, has totaled 10 points in 48 career games, with just six points in 28 games this season. For the most part, aside from missing a few games to deal with injuries, he’s been a healthy scratch for half the year.

The Rangers selected him 9th overall in the 2018 NHL Draft with many experts at the time feeling it was a reach. Kravtsov’s development was also delayed as he used his European Out clause to head back to Russia in 2019 instead of playing in the AHL. The covid pandemic impacted everyone in 2020, but his decision to not report to the Hartford Wolf Pack last season was probably a move he’d like to have back.

At this point, the Rangers are not developing players and are focused on winning a Stanley Cup. Larry Brooks reported over the weekend that Kravtsov and his agent have requested a trade leaving GM Chris Drury with an important decision to make in the remaining days before the trade deadline.

He can either take what he can get, or hold onto the pending RFA with arbitration rights and look to deal him before the draft. With the entire league knowing that Drury would rather avoid a messy situation this summer, and the possibility that Kravtsov may opt to return back to the KHL, no GM is going to surrender a high draft pick.

Back in December, a knowledgeable source put his value at no higher than a second-round pick and more likely a third. If the Rangers can get a second, look for a team with multiple second-round picks as a likely destination.

List of teams with multiple 2023 second-round picks:

  • Anaheim Ducks
  • Buffalo Sabres
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Seattle Kraken

That being said, two of the NHL’s top insiders have weighed in on the situation.

Kevin Weekes, is reporting either a third round selection or a similar prospect as a return.

Meanwhile, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman is noting that Drury will take the best offer he can get at this point.

“It’s believed the Rangers are looking for as high a draft pick as possible for Vitali Kravtsov,” Friedman wrote in his 32 Thoughts Blog.

Either way, both reports align with what we were told back in December and with the deadline approaching on March 3, Kravtsov will likely be wearing another sweater soon.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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