Moments ago, the Rangers announced that they have signed the organization’s top Russian prospects to respective entry-level contracts.
Kravtsov led his team in points when he left for the World Juniors in December. He was his team’s most dangerous forward in every game. Over the course of the season, he was involved in 26.58% of his team’s goals when playing, which is more than Evgeni Kuznetsov, Vladimir Tarasenko, Artemi Panarin and others (See below). He registered 11 points in the 2018 Gagarin Cup playoffs which is the third most by a teenager in the history of Russian hockey, dating back to the inaugural season of the RSL (Russian Super League). Only Maxim Afinogenov (16) and Evgeni Malkin (15) had more. Vitali Kravtsov’s KHL rights are retained by his club Traktor Chelyabinsk which means he can go back if there is an NHL lockout in the future.
Igor Shesterkin comes over from SKA, the team from St. Petersburg where he has played for the last 5 seasons in the KHL. Shesterkin is eighth all-time in the KHL in shutouts with 27, in just 117 games. His shutout/GP ratio is the highest in KHL history among goalies who played at least 100 games. The Russian goalie was selected in the fourth round in 2014 and just like Henrik Lundqvist, he signs his entry-level contract five years after being drafted. With the arrival of Shestyorkin, the Rangers now have two young Russian goalies to fight for the spot between the pipes in the future with Georgiev being the other.
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Пять лет, которые я провел в Петербурге – серьезный срок. Я перешел в СКА совсем молодым игроком и пережил здесь самые счастливые моменты в карьере. Два Кубка Гагарина, российское чемпионство, невероятные апрельские вечера в Казани и Магнитогорске, встречи в аэропорту, парады на Невском – все это навсегда останется в памяти. Особняком стоит поездка на Олимпиаду, откуда наша сборная привезла золотые медали ? Хочу поблагодарить руководство клуба за то, какие условия сейчас созданы в Петербурге для игр и тренировок, в СКА отлично выстроена работа с вратарями, молодые вратари прогрессируют в системе клуба. Спасибо всем тренерам, с которыми мы работали на протяжении этих пяти лет! Спасибо ребятам, без которых не было бы всех этих побед и достижений. И, конечно, спасибо болельщикам, Ледовому дворцу – атмосфера на наших домашних матчах была незабываемой как на обычных матчах регулярки, так и на суперважных встречах плей-офф. Мы вас любим! Желаю удачи СКА, пусть впереди будет еще больше радостных моментов и огромное число новых побед! ?
Translation: “The five years I spent in Petersburg are a serious time. I switched to SKA as a very young player and experienced the happiest moments in my career here. Two Gagarin Cups, the Russian championship, incredible April evenings in Kazan and Magnitogorsk, meetings at the airport, parades on Nevsky – all this will forever be remembered. The trip to the Olympics, from where our team brought gold medals, stands apart.
I want to thank the club management for what conditions are now created in St. Petersburg for games and training, work with goalkeepers in SKA is excellent, young goalkeepers are progressing in the club system. Thanks to all the coaches with whom we worked during these five years! Thank you guys, without whom there would not be all these victories and achievements.
And, of course, thanks to the fans, the Ice Palace – the atmosphere at our home games was unforgettable both at regular season games and at super-important playoff meetings. We love you!
I wish good luck to SKA, may there be more joyful moments ahead and a huge number of new victories! ?”
Kravtsov’s signed a three-year ELC which expires in 2022, while Shestyorkin signed a two-year ELC due to his age. According to the CBA, players that are 22 or 23 years of age are only eligible for a two-year contract. Both Kravtsov and Shestyorkin will be exempt from the 2021 expansion draft, which gives the Rangers more flexibility in the next two seasons.