Vitali Kravtsov: a complex situation for the Rangers

Kravtsov (KHL)

Yesterday was a sad day for Vitali Kravtsov and fans of his KHL team Traktor Chelyabinsk. After a good first few minutes, where they cruised to a 2-0 lead, with Kravtsov assisting on the opening goal just 1:14 in, the team collapsed late and lost 4-3 in game 4 against Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg.

The loss meant Traktor was eliminated from the KHL playoffs, and immediately rumors about Kravtsov joining the New York Rangers surfaced.

Signing Kravtsov

But what does it mean? What is the situation with Kravtsov? Let’s take a look at the CBA and what the consequences are for a contract this season. There are 3 categories which are important here.

  • ELC Slide: Because Kravtsov turns 20 in the year he would sign his contract, an entry level slide does not apply (CBA article 9.1.d.i) and they would burn a year if he’s on the team for 1 game
  • Expansion draft exemption: For the expansion draft exemption, the NHL looks at waiver eligibility rules to determine what counts as a pro year (CBA article 13.4), which means it only counts towards that if he plays 11 games
  • Accrued seasons towards UFA status: Kravtsov not being slide eligible means the season counts as an accrued season. A player who hits 7 accrued seasons or is 27 years old on July 1st,whichever comes first, reaches their UFA eligible years (CBA article 10.1)
Vitali Kravtsov during last year’s prospect development camp (NYR)

Scenarios

Scenario A: Kravtsov signs his entry level contract and plays 10 of fewer games (NHL or AHL) this season
ELC duration: 2019-2021
Expansion draft exempt: Yes
7 Accrued seasons in: 2026 at age 26

Scenario B: Kravtsov signs his entry level contract and plays 11 or more games (NHL or AHL) this season
ELC duration: 2019-2021
Expansion draft exempt: No
7 Accrued seasons in: 2026 at age 26

Scenario C: Kravtsov signs his entry level contract, but it only kicks in July 1st
ELC duration: 2019-2022
Expansion draft exempt: Yes
7 Accrued seasons in: 2027 at age 27

Kravtsov was the youngest player to participate in the KHL All Star Game this season

If Kravtsov and the Rangers agree on scenario C, they have the option to negotiate a professional try-out* and have Kravtsov play in Hartford for the AHL affiliate. The other option here is for Kravtsov to stay in Russia and play for the Russian national team or the Olympic team (The national B-team) in the Spring Tournaments which start early April.

The next few days will likely determine which path Kravtsov and the New York Rangers will take, and once we know more, we will let you know.

*A professional try-out is given to players who are currently playing professional hockey, which is different from an amateur try-out which is given to players who come over from junior or college hockey. The biggest difference is mostly financial.

Editor’s Note:

I spoke with someone from the Rangers yesterday and asked about the possibility of Kravtsov coming to play later this year for the big club. The response was that they are not sure. His KHL contract doesn’t expire until late April but something could be worked out between both clubs. Once again, signing and coming over speculation is a bit premature. – Anthony

Research for this article was compiled by Steve with extensive conversations on Twitter and HFBoards plus a review of the NHL CBA.

Update: after this was posted, Vitali Kravtsov told a reporter he was not sure if he will come over this season.
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