Vitali Kravtsov likely scratched with Filip Chytil set to return vs Vegas

Dec 5, 2022; New York, New York, USA; St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) makes a glove save during the third period in front of New York Rangers right wing Vitali Kravtsov (74) at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers did their morning skate in Vegas and it appears Vitali Kravtsov will be scratched with Filip Chytil set to return.

Chytil, 24, missed the last two games and has 11 points in 19 games this season.

According to multiple reports, Gerard Gallant had Chytil centering Artemi Panarin and Barclay Goodrow. That dropped Vincent Trocheck to the third line with Chris Kreider and Jimmy Vesey.

“No reason. Coach’s decision,” Gallant replied when asked about Kravtsov.

All indications have Kravtsov being scratched as he skated with the extras today.

As for Goodrow being moved up to the second line the coach simply said: “Because I like him and he fits there.”

Vitali Kravtsov odd man out again

Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Filip Chytil makes a welcome return to the Rangers lineup, unless you’re Vitali Kravtsov.

After an eight game absence, Kravtsov was finally given another opportunity to get back in and played in four straight games. The 22 year-old registered his first goal of the season and his second point in an overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators. He’s also a +2 in those contests with limited ice time.

So why is Kravtsov likely being scratched again?

Digging into the underlying numbers using NHL Stats, Kravtsov has the third highest CF% on the team (60.4) during these last four games. Using the eye test, he’s been very good in all three zones and fairly responsible defensively.

In that same time frame, Kravtsov’s one goal in just 11:59 of 5v5 ice time gives him a Goals Per 60 of 1.25. That’s third behind Goodrow (1.41) and Alexis Lafreniere (1.34).

Without the benefit of Gallant providing a deeper explanation, it’s hard to understand exactly why Kravtsov, a former first round pick in 2018 (9th overall) is unable to stay in the lineup.

An argument could be made that Julien Gauthier with just one assist in his last five games should be scratched in order to play Jimmy Vesey on the fourth line. One could even argue that Vesey with just one goal in his last seven games with a -4 rating is deserving of a scratch.

At this point, what’s the plan for Kravtsov? He isn’t benefiting by sitting in the press box. The Rangers can’t send him down because he’s no longer waivers exempt and a trade makes no sense since his value is low due to lack of playing time.

Often times, in these situations the player is labeled the enigma, but in this situation it’s the organization.

Rangers Game Notes

Igor Shesterkin was the first goalie off the ice which signals he should start the game against the Vegas Golden Knights. It will be his first career game against them.

Here’s tonight’s game and broadcast info:

New York Rangers (12-10-5) vs. Vegas Golden Knights (19-7-1)
Date/Time: December 7, 2022 at 10:00 PM ET
Arena: T-Mobile Arena
Radio: ESPN 1050 AM

Note: MSG Networks has released a new statement on the continuing issues with Comcast Xfinity.

NHL News and Rumors

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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