In prospect news, Rangers former 2018 first round pick Vitali Kravtsov has signed with Chelyabinsk Traktor of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) for one year. The deal doesn’t include a recall clause.
It’s understandable why Kravtsov opted to play the 2020-21 season in Russia. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hockey won’t be restarting until the winter. With the NHL still in the second round of the playoffs, there won’t be a Stanley Cup winner until late September at the soonest. For a young player like Kravtsov, it makes sense to further develop with a team he’s familiar with at home.
Both Steve Vogel and Russian insider Gillian Kemmerer had more on the 20-year old deciding to return to Traktor. It’s for the best. He probably wasn’t gonna to make the roster.
As much as we want to see him here, the situation is complex. If it were a normal year, the NHL Postseason would have wrapped up a couple of months ago along with the off-season which includes the NHL Draft and free agency. Instead, we have to wait until October 9 for the Rangers to make it official with prize prospect Alexis Lafreniere as the top pick. Don’t forget they have the Carolina first as well.
Considering that Europe can start earlier, it’s good for younger players such as Kravtsov and Lauri Pajunemi. That goes for most European prospects.
Adam Ruska is an 18-year old forward from the Czech Republic who is draft eligible this autumn. He played on the same team as Lafreniere for Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL. Not to be confused with 23-year old Rangers goalie prospect Adam Huska, who will likely share goalie duties in the AHL for Hartford with freshly signed Tyler Wall.
Don’t forget that any player who completes their season overseas can be recalled by the Rangers. Who knows. You might see Kravtsov by next Spring. Let’s hope so.