Kravtsov could be ready for primetime


Rangers 2018 first round pick Vitali Kravtsov is turning heads this week at Rookie Prospect Camp. AP Photo via Getty Images courtesy NHL.com

At the Rangers Prospect Camp, Vitali Kravtsov is the one player making all the noise. The 2018 first round pick the team took ninth overall last year, has been drawing raves with his play in the rookie scrimmages.

While most of the hoopla surrounds second pick Kaapo Kakko, the 19-year old Russian forward has been the best player this week. Not only is he impressing on the ice, but off it as well. During an interview session, Kravtsov refused an interpreter by opting to speak in English. It went well.

It’s obvious that the talented Kravtsov has a good personality to match his unique set of skills. He wants to have fun. It definitely shows. There’s a lot to like about him. His ability to see the ice and make plays for teammates will be a welcome sight once he gets to Broadway. Not yet guaranteed. It’ll depend on training camp.

Above, here is Kravtsov completely faking out Adam Huska by setting up 20-year old center Morgan Barron for a beautiful goal that drew oohs and ahhs from the fans that attended. As evidenced by his good showing (2-4-6) in the U20 WJC where he successfully shifted to center on Russia, the Rangers should be truly excited about this young prospect.

As much focus as there continues to be from most Ranger fans over a certain Russian free agent the team spoke to in person yesterday, it’s the potential of players like Kravtsov, Kakko, Adam Fox, K’Andre Miller, Igor Shesterkin, etc. that should set up the franchise well for the future.

Don’t believe me? Look at this sweet move and finish by Kravtsov on a penalty shot.

I like how he patiently waited for the five-hole to open up before beating Huska. He said afterwards that he prefers to go there if it’s available.

Finally, remember all that fuss over the organization selecting Kravtsov over Oliver Wahlstrom, who the Islanders took two spots later? Well, based on where they are in their development right now, the Rangers are being proven right.

I can admit that I am wrong. Very happy to do so.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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