Rangers Rumors: Jeff Gorton in Montreal doesn’t make Vitali Kravtsov trade any more likely

The New York Rangers are going to trade disgruntled prospect Vitali Kravtsov at some point this season or at the NHL Draft.

The Montreal Canadiens are floundering and have just cleaned house and hired former Blueshirts GM Jeff Gorton to run hockey ops. With the Habs in need of restocking the shelves and looking at a possible rebuild, it has many thinking he will come knocking on the Rangers door for Kravtsov.

Jeff Gorton will be smart and patient

Today, the Canadiens introduced Gorton to the media. He spoke of his need to assess what he currently has before making any moves. His first order of business is to hire a GM, which he said will most likely happen after Christmas. Gorton also spoke of building an analytics department, and improving player development.

He also gave his head coach, Dominique Ducharme a vote of confidence by stating he would not make a coaching change this season. That can’t be said for some of the veterans, or those with long term contracts on the roster as a rebuild is under consideration.

When it comes to restocking the shelves, it would not surprise me or anyone else that he will engage with Chris Drury at some point. Many believe that with Montreal’s previous interest in Kravtsov, who Gorton drafted 9th overall in 2018, that this is his most likely destination.

vitali kravtsov trade
Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov and other Rangers prospects practice at the Rangers training facility in Greenburgh Sept. 5, 2019.

Forever Blueshirts has learned that is not the case. What was made clear to me is that Gorton would consider the deal if it was at a discounted price. Remember, Gorton knows more details about what transpired between Kravrtsov, Chris Drury, and the Rangers organization than anyone else.

It was also relayed to me that Gorton would likely be more interested in acquiring some of the defensemen he drafted like Zac Jones, Braden Schneider, and Matthew Robertson before considering Kravtsov.

Vitali, 21, is currently performing well for Traktor in the KHL with 6 points in 9 games.

Other Rangers rumors

The Rangers as usual appear to be attached to almost every player available. Two names that have been reportedly linked to the Blueshirts are Boston’s Jake DeBrusk and Vancouver’s J.T. Miller.

“As many as 12 teams, maybe more than 12 teams have already checked in on the Jake DeBrusk situation with the Boston Bruins, but the reality is the Bruins now need Jake DeBrusk in their lineup,” Dreger explained on TSN Insider Trading. “I would say the New York Rangers are among the teams that have expressed some interest. You’ve got the Vancouver Canucks, maybe Montreal, maybe Calgary. Certainly Arizona.”

DeBrusk is 25 and earns $3.675M. He will be an RFA this summer, which makes this one a little harder to see for the Rangers to pull off a deal. This one sounds more like an agent drumming up interest than anything else.

When it comes to J.T. Miller there is genuine interest there in a reunion. One that I believe Drury wants to make happen as soon as possible.

A number of teams have been circling around Miller (including one of his old teams, the New York Rangers) amid the Canucks’ disastrous season, although it seems as if GM Jim Benning does not have the full autonomy to make a core-altering trade at the moment. 

Frank Seravalli, DFO

The 28 year-old has one more year left on his deal worth $5.25M before becoming a UFA. He’s also been extremely productive with 23 points in 24 games for Vancouver this season. Since joining the Canucks he has 141 points in 146 contests. For his career, Miller has posted 378 points in 581 games.

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Who will win the Vezina? Who has the edge for the Norris and MVP? Projected winners here.