Rangers GM Chris Drury’s reputation indicates Vitali Kravtsov could be sitting awhile

Chris Drury was a tough and hard working hockey player. When he was named captain of the New York Rangers in 2008, he made it clear what his philosophy would be.

“As leaders, you’ve got to be the hardest-working guys on the team,” a 32 year-old Drury said. “I think that means being the first one there, and in some ways being an extension of the coaching staff. When things are going wrong, you’ve got to find a way to get them right.”

That work ethic has carried on from his playing days into his executive career. He’s growing quite the reputation as being firm with what he believes and letting someone know when they aren’t living up to those standards.

Chris Drury’s reputation is being tough

In the latest 32 Thoughts Podcast, host Jeff Marek brought up that while Drury was GM of the Wolf Pack several players demanded trades. Sean Day, Ty Ronning, Brandon Halverson, and Ryan Gropp were examples put forth. All but Ronning are gone now.

“In all these situations Chris Drury basically said ‘kick rocks’, I’m not gonna deal you,” Marek explained. “And was comfortable to wait it out.”

Of course, Vitali Kravtsov is a top 10 pick with high skill so it’s a bit of a different. However, Drury was characterized as someone who is fair but is also strong in his beliefs.

“Chris Drury has always been calm but firm,” Elliotte Friedman replied. “The way you described him is the way I’ve always understood him. He’s not going to get emotional, at least not publicly. He’s going to make a decision and stand by it no matter if the move is popular or not.”

In my own research, it was told to me that Drury can be a little rough around the edges at times. That would make sense when it comes to how he’s handled the Kravtsov situation.

Remember, it was Gerard Gallant who called Vitali to come back, not Drury.

A Vitali Kravtsov trade could take awhile

Vitali Kravtsov trade
May 8, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New York Rangers right wing Vitali Kravtsov (74) knocks the puck off the stick of Boston Bruins left wing Taylor Hall (71) during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The stories about Drury telling Kravtsov he quit in 2019, and then coming down on him publicly align with Marek and Friedman’s recent comments.

His track record of not being willing to trade players when they demand will also factor here. That’s why Kravtsov could be sitting for a long time.

He’s currently home and although a trade is likely, Drury isn’t just going to move him unless he gets exactly what he wants. Since everyone likens this to the Lias Andersson situation, he asked for a trade in December of 2019 but wasn’t moved until October 2020. That was almost a year, pandemic aside.

Kravtsov, 21, will have his ELC expire this summer. The Rangers for all intents and purposes own his rights until he’s 27 years-old. I doubt this will reach that point, but Chris Drury holds all the cards here. Matter of fact, Kravtsov’s only play to force a trade was to sit out.

Listen, a deal could happen tomorrow but I doubt it. What’s probable is he could be packaged for a rental at the trade deadline. Or even more likely, moved for a high second round pick at the 2022 Draft.

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