The New York Rangers finalized their roster on Monday and excluded 2018 first round draft pick Vitali Kravtsov from the big club.
“There was no reason why, it was about picking your team that you’re moving forward with, trying to win hockey games,” Gallant explained about the demotion. “We said there was battles for those spots all training camp long and the other guys played well, some of the guys that stayed up – Gauthier and Hunt because they played really well in camp and they earned this position.”
It also helped that Kravtsov is waiver exempt, which allows GM Chris Drury to work on trades for other players like Libor Hajek and Julien Gauthier. Those players would have to pass through waivers.
Vitali Kravtsov demands a trade
Yesterday, Elliotte Friedman reported that the Rangers granted permission to Kravtsov to speak with other clubs in order to facilitate a trade. Additionally, Larry Brooks of the NY Post noted that Kravtsov will be suspended for refusing to go to the Hartford Wolf Pack in the AHL.
Red flags started to arise with the Rangers 9th overall pick in 2018 the first time he was sent to Hartford in 2019. He used his European out clause to return to the KHL, only to have the Rangers work to get him back after he was demoted there.
This latest news obviously didn’t sit well with the 21 year-old, so he is on his way out. This is also not the first time he’s been mentioned in trade talks.
Back in November of 2020, Kravtsov was asked about potential trade rumors to the Penguins to which he said, “I can’t say anything about this.”
Forever Blueshirts learned yesterday through a source, that Kravtsov feels very strongly that he belongs at the NHL level. He is a very confident hockey player, maybe too confident to accept this demotion.
Mollie Walker of the NY POST then added this tidbit in her column.
At the end of last season, Kravtsov had a contentious exit meeting with Rangers management. Much of the strained discussion zeroed in on the way he trains in the offseason, which left Kravtsov thinking he was going to be traded. Kravtsov fired his agent, Paul Theofanous, and hired new representation in Dan Milstein amid issues with Rangers brass.Mollie Walker, NY Post
There’s also been some rumblings around the team that they weren’t happy with his conditioning in camp. The lower-body injury he suffered in preseason action may have been a result of that, but this is not confirmed.
Kravtsov’s trade value
A trade should not be hard to facilitate, especially with reports that multiple teams are interested. However, this very public matter certainly hurts his trade value.
Yesterday, after the news broke a knowledgeable source made it clear that the likely return will be a second round pick. The most logical would be from teams that currently hold multiple picks in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.
Those teams are as follows:
- Ottawa Senators (34, 57)
- Calgary Flames (41, 49)
- Detroit Red Wings (47, 63)
- Arizona Coyotes (55, 58, 59, 62)
The other factor is to look at the way the Rangers are situated to date. They are actively shopping their extra players like Hajek and Gauthier, which could be packaged with Kravtsov to maybe garner a late first round pick instead. Trading Kravtsov for a roster player would only force their hand at sending someone else down via waivers.
Plus, it’s unlikely many teams are going to give up a top 9 forward for Kravtsov, who is garnering a reputation for being a challenge to deal with. This is eerily similar to Lias Andersson, whom no one would trade for. Ultimately, Andersson went to LA for a second round pick which was used to select Will Cuylle.
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