Shesterkin and Kravtsov, two very different prospects

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Igor Shesterkin and Vitali Kravtsov both signed this offseason with the Rangers. They both came over and played in the Traverse City Tournament and Preseason. When it was all said and done, the Rangers prized prospects from the KHL impressed, but were assigned to Hartford. That’s where any comparisons between the two should end.

Different Journeys

When Kravtsov, who is only 19 opted to go back to the KHL many people started to speculate that Shesterkin would go back as well. Shesterkin who is 23 also has a European out clause, but he has nothing to gain by going back. KHL reporter, Gillian Kemmerer told Forever Blueshirts the following about their key differences.

A lot is made of Igor Shestyorkin’s seamless fit into the Hartford lineup versus Kravtsov’s early days. I think it’s important to consider their respective starting positions, given that there is a lot of variation in the KHL in terms of club management and competitiveness. Shestyorkin was a starter for SKA St. Petersburg, traditionally one of the strongest teams in the league. They play on North American-sized ice with North America-minded management and sold-out crowds; club leader Roman Rotenberg is even basing some elements of his new stadium design on MSG. Igor is 23 and an Olympic gold medalist; Vitali is 19 and was (officially or unofficially) expected to come home and correct a crisis.

Gillian Kemmerer

Shesterkin Is Ready

Shestyorkin (SKA)

The Rangers star goalie prospect has been the foundation for the Wolf Pack’s resurgence. In 19 games so far, he has a stellar .926 SV% and a 2.14 GAA. Those numbers have helped him gather 11 wins with only 4 losses and 3 OT losses. For a goalie coming over after dominating one league, he has already conquered another.

Shesterkin has shown he can lead a team in nets. He has received nothing but high praises from his head coach and teammates alike. He doesn’t look out of place and will be ready to go when the Rangers make the call up at some point this season.

Kravtsov needs seasoning

Vitali is a raw talent who wants to be a star. However, having spoke to enough people that have covered him in the KHL he still has a lot of growing up to do. Kravtsov from what one Russian reporter has told me is very cocky. Now that can be a blessing and a curse for an athlete. When things are going their way, they usually shine but flip the script and problems arise.

The good thing here from what I can gather, the experience of going back to the KHL and having it not go as he thought was a much needed growing pain. Looking ahead, with Kravtsov back in the AHL this should be a more engaged and willing to listen player. He needs more seasoning, but there is still a really good chance that he will get a shot with the big club after the trade deadline.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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