NHL trade rumors: Rangers want top prospect in return for Vitali Kravtsov

Vitali Kravtsov Rangers
Vitali Kravtsov
Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Vitali Kravtsov wants a fresh start, but the New York Rangers aren’t going to let him go for anything less than a sizable return. 

Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek reported that Rangers president and general manager Chris Drury will take nothing less than “a top prospect” from a potential suitor that wants the 21-year-old. 

The ninth overall pick of the 2018 NHL Draft had appeared in 20 games for the Rangers last season, but when he did not make the opening-night roster for the 2021-22 campaign, Kravtsov was given permission by the team to reach out to other clubs to set the wheels of a trade in motion.

It is still unclear what the source of the trade request stems from as there have been varying reports of Kravtsov’s unrest. 

Arthur Staple of The Athletic reported that the young winger and Drury have had their differences dating back to 2019 when they were both with the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford.  Larry Brooks of the New York Post, however, reported that Kravtsov believes that there isn’t a legitimate avenue for him to gain consistent playing time with the NHL club given their forward depth.

Such a belief is a rather pessimistic one, especially because there seems to be an opportunity for him to get some time in the lineup now. Ryan Strome is in the NHL’s COVID protocol while Kaapo Kakko is dealing with a shoulder injury.

In the meantime, Kravtsov returned home to Russia where he is skating, training, and ultimately, waiting for a trade that does not seem to have a timeline. 

There is, however, an apparent bundle of interest from teams around the NHL. According to league insider Nick Kypreos, “as many as 15 teams” have contacted Drury about Kravtsov, including the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets. 

In his 20 games with the Rangers last season, Kravtsov recorded two goals and two assists.

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