WJC proves that Kravtsov and Lundkvist are two flourishing Rangers Prospects

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A few weeks ago, the Rangers were represented well during the IIHF World Junior Championships by sending over a number of prospects including K’Andre Miller, Nico Gross, Nils Lundkvist and Vitali Kravtsov. In this piece, we’ll go into detail on the play of Lundkvist and Kravtsov specifically. One thing’s for sure, each of these prospects at one point or another showed flashes of brilliance and what they could potentially bring to the Rangers down the line. Lets dive into what Kravtsov and Lundkvist brought to the table.

Kravtsov scores after setting up the play in the neutral zone

Vitali Kravtsov, Forward, Team Russia
WJC Totals: 2 G, 4 A, 6 PIM, +/-  4
Bronze Medalist 

There’s a reason why the Rangers took Kravtsov with the 9th pick during last summer’s entry draft. At the Word Junior Championship (WJC), his skill set was on full display and he proved to be one of Team Russia’s best forwards throughout the tournament. Netting two goals and notching four helpers, Kravtsov’s sleek skating ability and smooth puck handling skills shone through for all to see.

Although this is only a small sample size, his performance confirms what we’ve all seen on Twitter and from highlights on YouTube. He possesses strong, elite puck handling skills, great skating ability and displayed some versatility playing two different positions. Russia tasked Kravtsov, a winger, to play center and take draws on occasion and did well for himself, a task that no one expected him to pull off.

Clearly, the Rangers saw something him in that we didn’t and that is becoming evident from his WJC performance to his play in the KHL. He’s only 19 years old and is currently playing like a player that is older and more mature. Hopefully he can become the elite talent this franchise has lacked for years on end. If his WJC tournament performance is evidence of how good he can be and considering his has room for improvement, then the Rangers really hit a home run with this kid.

Nils Lundkvist, Defenseman, Team Sweden
WJC Totals: 1 G, 1 A, 0 PIM, +/-  1
Did Not Qualify For Medal

Originally slated for the second round, Nils Lundkvist was selected by the Rangers with their third first round pick (28th overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Standing at 5 foot 11, Lundkvist is a smaller defenseman, but is shifty on his skates and can control the game with his puck control and quick decision making. He is great on the rush when he decides to join in.

Coming into the tournament, Sweden was expected to be a strong contender for the gold medal. Unfortunately for them, that didn’t happen but Lundkvist turned in a strong performance, as he displayed what the Rangers saw in him when they scouted him in Sweden. Strong and mobile on the puck, Lundkvist was one of Team Sweden’s best defenseman, displaying his skill set in a large role for the Swedes. He even tallied a goal versus Team Kazakhstan where he whipped it on net, showing off his offensive prowess.

The Rangers front office felt that both of these players could be potential hits for the NHL team down the line. So far, from this tournament, they showed us that those picks look like they are heading in the right direction. Whether it’s Kravtsov’s sleek moves or Lundkvist’s offensive prowess from the back end, it looks to me these guys will be impact players. Now, you never know what can happen, but if this most recent tournament is evidence of what these guys can bring plus more when they mature, the Rangers will be in great shape for years to come.

Thank you for reading. Please give me a follow on Twitter @JLChaparro8 and follow the blog page @4EverBlueshirts

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