Vitali Kravtsov wants to ‘redeem’ himself, and NY Rangers make first cuts

Vitali Kravtsov is looking to put his difficult past with the New York Rangers organization behind him. After several tumultuous seasons since being the 9th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the 22 year-old forward is ready to prove his worth.

“I’ve definitely made a lot of noise previously so there’s this necessity to redeem myself a little bit,” he said via a translator after practice today. “I just want to do what everyone else is doing. Put in the work, get on the team, and do my part.”

Vitali Kravtsov wants to redeem himself

vitali kravtsov
Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov and other Rangers prospects practice at the Rangers training facility in Greenburgh Sept. 5, 2019. Credit: © Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News, Rockland/Westchester Journal News via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The noise Kravtsov is referring to began in 2019. That’s when he used his European out clause to exit Hartford after not making the team out of camp. Per Arthur Staple of The Athletic, then Wolf Pack GM Chris Drury told him that he “quit” on the team.

Things didn’t get any better the following year.

Kravtsov injured his groin during preseason, and the Rangers were reportedly not happy with his conditioning coming into camp. He was once again cut but this time refused assignment to the AHL and requested a trade. The Rangers allowed his camp, led by agent Dan Milstein to speak with other teams but no trade ever came to fruition.

“After I left last year I talked with [Drury] and all the guys,” he explained. “All that happens on the internet is not always the truth with what happens in the locker room. I didn’t want to make [the trade request] public.”

This summer, Kravtov signed a one-year deal to return the Rangers after mending his relationship with Chris Drury. He also heeded the advice of the Rangers to come over sooner from Russia to begin training.

“He came [to New York] in early July and started working out,” Gerard Gallant said. “I talked to him about a month ago and said to him, ‘there’s an opportunity here but you’ve got to take it.’”

Kravtsov, 22, had a strong 2021-22 campaign in the KHL. In 19 regular season contests, he potted 6 goals and 7 assists for 13 points. During the playoffs, he added 7 goals and a total of 10 points in 15 games.

Having played 20 games for the Rangers at the tail-end of the 2020-21 season, he scored two goals and added two assists. That experience will be beneficial for both Kravtsov and the Blueshirts as well this year.

“I don’t think we’ve ever wavered from our stance of, he’s an all-world talent. He does a lot of things on the ice that a lot of people can’t,” Drury said. “Like everyone else, your play dictates where you end up. But we’re certainly glad to have him back in the mix.”

The youngster is currently slated to play on the second line with newly signed center Vincent Trocheck and fellow Russian, Artemi Panarin. By all accounts, the trio has found some early chemistry with Panarin taking a mentorship role to guide Kravtsov.

“I tried to learn a lot from those guys,” Kravtsov explained. “It’s easier for them to play with me than it is for me to play with them.”

New York Rangers announce first cuts

On Saturday, the New York Rangers announced the following players will be returning to their respective junior teams:

  • Sam Alfano
  • Maxim Barbashev
  • Jayden Grubbe
  • Bryce McConnell-Barker

That brings the camp invites down from 66 to 62 per team press release as follows:

Forwards (37): Sammy Blais, Easton Brodzinski, Jonny Brodzinski, Ryan Carpenter, Filip Chytil, Will Cuylle, Cristiano DiGiacinto, Adam Edstrom, Turner Elson, Tanner Fritz, Julien Gauthier, Tim Gettinger, Barclay Goodrow, Karl Henriksson, Dryden Hunt, Zach Jordan, Kaapo Kakko, Patrick Khodorenko, Ryder Korczak, Vitali Kravtsov, Chris Kreider, Alexis Lafrenière, Ryan Lohin, Brennan Othmann, Lauri Pajuniemi, Artemi Panarin, Ryan Reaves, Matt Rempe, Austin Rueschhoff, Gustav Rydahl, C.J. Smith, Adam Sykora, Bobby Trivigno, Vincent Trocheck, Jimmy Vesey, Alex Whelan, Mika Zibanejad

Defensemen (18): Matt Bartkowski, Ty Emberson, Adam Fox, Zach Giuttari, Libor Hajek, Louka Henault, Blake Hillman, Zac Jones, Ryan Lindgren, Luke Martin, K’Andre Miller, Matthew Robertson, Brandon Scanlin, Braden Schneider, Hunter Skinner, Jarred Tinordi, Jacob Trouba, Andy Welinski

Goaltenders (7): Talyn Boyko, Louis Domingue, Parker Gahagen, Dylan Garand, Jaroslav Halak, Olof Lindbom, Igor Shesterkin

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