One of the surprises among yesterday’s opening day roster submissions was in New York, where the Rangers decided to send Vitali Kravtsov back to the minor leagues. Today, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports that the team has given Kravtsov’s camp permission to seek a trade. Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports that Kravtsov has refused the assignment to the AHL and will likely be suspended by the team.
The 21-year-old Kravtsov was the ninth overall pick just three years ago, but has had an up-and-down relationship with the Rangers ever since. After playing a handful of games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL at the start of the 2019-20 season, Kravtsov exercised his European Assignment Clause to return to the KHL. He’d been benched and even made a healthy scratch in the minor leagues, so he returned home to continue his development with a team he expected to play a lot for. That didn’t work out as planned, however, and Kravtsov was back in North America, playing for the Wolf Pack before the season was through.
Last season, with the KHL starting earlier than the professional leagues in North America, Kravtsov once again suited up for Traktor and showed he had reached a new level of consistency. The Rangers left him there through the end of the KHL campaign, and then added him to the NHL roster where he played in his first 20 games. He had just two goals and four points in those contests, but things seemed to be back on the right track.