What’s next for Rangers Vitali Kravtsov with KHL ending season early?

New York Rangers disgruntled prospect Vitali Kravtsov’s season with Traktor will come to an end sooner than expected.

The Kontinental Hockey League in Russia is canceling the remainder of its regular season and will move straight to the playoffs following the conclusion of the Winter Olympics, the league announced Saturday.

The KHL cited the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the reasons for the decision, which will allow players to quarantine before the start of the postseason.

What’s next for Vitali Kravtsov

Kravtsov, 22, is playing really well for Traktor in the KHL. In 19 games, he’s registered 6 goals, 7 assists for 13 points.

He was selected by the Rangers in the 2018 Draft, 9th overall. His situation and fallout with the organization is well documented. What remains abundantly clear is that GM Chris Drury will not rush a trade, but he is expected to be moved at the NHL Trade Deadline. If not, things could get a little more interesting.

The Gagarin Cup playoffs will begin March 1, the KHL said. That changes the potential timetable for his availability by a week depending on when Traktor is eliminated.

Previously the playoffs were set to begin on March 4th.

Kravtov could be available by the March 21 NHL Trade Deadline if his team is eliminated in the first round. Should Traktor make it to the Final, it would be the end of April.

Would Kravtsov play for the Rangers?

vitali kravtsov trade rumors
May 5, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Daniel Carr #28 of the Washington Capitals checks Vitali Kravtsov #74 of the New York Rangers during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Kravtsov refused to report to the Wolf Pack after not making the team out of training camp. It was also revealed that he and his agent were granted permission to seek a trade.

“After discussions with Vitali and his representation, we decided a loan to Traktor was in the best interests of both him and the organization,” Drury said in a statement. “We think very highly of Vitali and the Rangers development staff will continue to work with him to reach our mutual goal of him some day being a New York Ranger.”

While there is a possibility he could join the Rangers this season, if he isn’t traded, some with knowledge of the situation don’t believe it will happen.

Remember, before he was loaned reports surfaced that revealed a lack of trust between Kravtsov and Drury. This dates back to 2019 when Vitali used his European out clause to exit Hartford and Drury called him a quitter.

What is a realistic return for Kravtsov

When news broke that Kravtsov requested a trade, I was told by a source that a second round pick would be the most likely return. It was also added to look at teams with multiple second round 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)

Kravtsov was recently mentioned as part of a trade package for Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. That lends some credence that Kravtsov could be made part of a larger deal.

He’s also rumored to be involved for a potential trade for Vancouver’s J.T. Miller and possibly Vegas’ Reilly Smith.

Should the Rangers not trade Kravtsov by the deadline, then the Draft this summer makes the most sense.

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