Rangers Roundup: Kravtsov’s KHL team releases statement
Traktor Chelyabinsk’s General Manager, Yevgeny Gubarev has released a statement regarding Vitali Kravtsov’s situation. It is more complicated than most fans realize.
Some people, me included, have speculated Kravtsov would be released 5 days after the team was eliminated as they did in 2014 with Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Comparing the 2 situations made sense, until you look at the bigger picture. In 2014, the NHL was in year 2 of a new CBA following a lockout and there was no reason to retain the rights to Kuznetsov who at the time was almost 22 years old. Vitali Kravtsov is only 19, and the NHL’s current CBA expires in 2022.
At this moment, Traktor does not want to release Kravtsov from his contract, because it would mean they lose his KHL rights.
With a possible lockout only 3 years away, they would give up a valuable asset. They could opt to sign him to a KHL deal or trade his rights to one of the bigger clubs in exchange for money or draft picks/prospects.
Gubarev also expanded on a potential KHL-clause in Kravtsov’s entry level contract. “If Vitali does not secure a spot on the Rangers team, he can return to Traktor” which was agreed upon by Kravtsov’s agent Paul Theophanos. This situation would be similar to Kristian Vesalainen this season, who chose to move to the KHL after not securing a spot in the Winnipeg Jets line-up early on.
Traktor will give Kravtsov a qualifying offer to retain his KHL rights. This situation is comparable to the Rangers and Nicklas Jensen. The Danish winger was a restricted free agent in the NHL and opted to leave for the KHL where he now plays for Jokerit. By giving Jensen a qualifying offer, the Rangers retain his NHL rights in case he decides to return to the NHL in the future.
For now, Kravtsov will remain in Russia, which means he is available for the Russian national team. Once any news regarding Kravtsov and the national team is announced, we will update you.