Bill Cook, Andy Bathgate, Rod Gilbert, Vic Hadfeild, Adam Graves, and Jaromir Jagr are all names that New York Rangers fans know as all-time great Ranger wingers. These wingers all came and played in New York, not only playing but dominating. Fully embracing everything that New York is and stellar play made these players legends. In the summer of 2022, heading into the season, a former first-round pick is making a highly anticipated push for the Rangers lineup. In 2018, the New York Rangers selected Vitali Kravtsov 9th overall–a bit of an off-the-board pick.
Vitali Kravtsov’s Time In New York So Far
To say Kravtsov’s time in New York has been rough is an understatement. Being taken 9th overall puts some pretty high expectations on an 18-year-old. Kravtsov has not lived up to any expectations. With 20 games played and only two goals and two assists to his name, Kravtsov has been very underwhelming. After not making the Rangers team out of training camp last year Kravtsov was unhappy in New York. He was sent to the AHL–but refused the assignment. As a result, Kravtsov and his agent were given permission to attempt to facilitate a trade.
Kravtsov returned to Russia on loan with Traktor Chelyabinsk last fall and he scored 13 points in 19 regular season games in the Russian top league, the KHL.
After signing the former first-round pick to a one-year deal worth $875,000, Chris Drury made some promising comments about Vitali Kravtsov. “We’re excited to have him back,” Drury said. “I don’t think we’ve ever wavered from our stance that he’s an all-world talent. Does a lot of things on the ice that a lot of people can’t”. Chris Drury continued, “Good size, his hockey sense is through the roof, as is his skill. So we’re excited to have him back and be a part of the group.”
A lot of players departed from the Rangers this offseason leaving a lot of holes in this lineup. Kaapo Kakko still has no contract and with a weak bottom nine, the Rangers are in need of some help. Coming into the season the big-framed winger would be a great addition to the PP2. With Kravtsov’s massive fame and big stick he can PK too. Having only played 20 games, Kravtsov is technically still a rookie. Expectations are high, but we still need to keep in mind he has a lot to learn.
Kravtsov’s Future with the Rangers
What the future holds, nobody knows, but it is looking bright for Kravtsov. This Rangers team has a lot of question marks. We may see a young prospect step in and be a big contributor on a cheap contract. With many new faces (including a new coach), Kravtsov may flourish. The NHL is a great place for young stars to break out and succeed. All we can do as fans is pray for that.