New York Rangers loan Vitali Kravtsov to The KHL

New York Rangers GM and President Chris Drury announced on Wednesday afternoon the club has loaned Vitali Kravtsov to Traktor of the KHL.

Disgruntled New York Rangers forward Vitali Kravtsov has been loaned to Traktor of the KHL.

“After discussions with Vitali and his representation, we decided a loan to Traktor was in the best interests of both him and the organization,” said Drury. “We think very highly of Vitali and the Rangers development staff will continue to work with him to reach our mutual goal of him someday being a New York Ranger.”

Kravtsov refused to report to the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack after he didn’t make the team’s lineup out of training camp.  Instead, he left for Russia and was willing to wait for a trade away from New York.

The 21-year-old appeared in 20 games for the Blueshirts last season scoring two goals with four points.

The Rangers will be able to recall Kravtsov, should they decide to, once the current KHL season has concluded.

Kravtsov made issued a statement via the Rangers PR department which read,

“I want to thank the Rangers for working with me, and appreciate the open and honest conversations we have had during this process,” said Kravtsov. “While this has been a challenging time for me personally, I believe having the opportunity to return to Traktor and work on my game is the best thing for me right now. My main focus is getting better every day to continue towards my goal of playing hockey for the New York Rangers.”

Kravtsov was selected by the Rangers in the first round (ninth overall) of the 2018 NHL Draft.

New York Rangers hold on to Sweep the New Jersey Devils

While the New York Yankees were getting swept in the Bronx by the Tampa Bay Rays, the New York Rangers kept their playoff hopes alive by sweeping the New Jersey Devils by a score of 5-3.

Sweeping a team in baseball is somewhat common, but not so much in the NHL. According to the NHL Public Relations, the Rangers are the first team in NHL history that has won four consecutive team games that were all against the same opponent in the regular season. The NHL does not usually give teams four straight games against the same opponent, but COVID-19 has required the league to make some scheduling adjustments for this season.

The Blueshirts did not make it easy, blowing another early three-goal lead before Mika Zibanejad slammed home a power-play goal with just three minutes left in the game. Ryan Strome was awarded an empty-net goal after a P.K. Subban hooking penalty on a breakaway to make the final tally for the Rangers.

Vitali Kravtsov scored his first NHL goal at 14:03 of the first period. Chris Kreider and Alexis Lafreniere scored the other goals for the Rangers. After a bit of a slow start, Lafreniere has started to find his groove. HIs seven even-strength goals are the fifth-most among NHL rookies while his 13 even strength points are the fourth-most among NHL rookies.

Alexandar Georgiev made 10 saves on 10 shots but was helped off the ice after making a save at 17:41 of the first period. Igor Shesterkin made two saves on two shots in 2:19 of relief. Georgiev returned in the second period and finished with 25 saves.

After the game, Georgiev stated that something felt out of place with his left knee.  He credited the Ranger’s training staff for taking care of it and getting him back into play.

The New York Rangers once again have to hold off a Devils rally in the third period

In his post-game interview, Zibanejad talked about how the Rangers regrouped after the Devils had rallied to tie the game. “You try to calm down on the bench a little bit and you try not to panic. There was a lot of hockey left and we had to go back and play hockey like we should. But give them (New Jersey) credit, they work real hard.”

Georgiev also talked about how the Rangers were able to “weather the storm” when the Devils tied the game. “After the second goal, they kind of got the momentum going. I think they really wanted to break the streak. It was a great job by us to weather the storm and for Mika to get the goal.”

“I thought we had a good 2nd period,” head coach David Quinn said in his post-game Zoom conference. “That second goal gave them momentum and then all of a sudden it is three-three. We found a way to get it done. Playing a team four times in a row, no matter what league you are in, you have to find ways to win.”

The Rangers are fifth in the eight-team East Division, four points behind the fourth-place Boston Bruins. Boston has two games in hand in fighting for the fourth and final playoff spot.

The Blueshirts will head travel to Nassau County to take on the Islanders on Tuesday night.





The New York Rangers Rally but fall to the Islanders in Overtime

The New York Rangers did pick up one point in their playoff run after falling to the Islanders 3-2 in overtime. Ryan Pulock scored his first goal of the season at the 1:13 mark of the overtime period to give the Isles the extra point.

The Rangers came very close to winning the game at 17:19 of the third period when a Ryan Lindgren shot from the left circle hit Scott Mayfield‘s skate and went off the crossbar.

After giving up two goals to the Islanders in the first period, the Rangers rallied in the second to tie the game.

The Rangers have done very well in the second period this season. Per NYR Stats & Info, the Blueshirts have outscored opponents, 52-36 in the second period this season. The Rangers rank third in the NHL in goals and rank fourth in the NHL in goal differential (+16) in the second period in the 2020-21 season.

The Rangers got their first two goals from a couple of defensemen, courtesy of Libor Hajek and Brendan Smith. Vitali Kravtsov earned an assist on the Smith goal, which is his first career NHL point. Mika Zibanejad had the other assist.

Igor Shesterkin stopped 28 shots in regulation, while also facing his former Russian National goaltending teammate and KHL opponent.

Shesterkin and Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin played against each other in the NHL for the first time. Shesterkin and Sorokin faced each other 11 times in the regular season and playoffs in the KHL. They were also teammates on the “Athletes from Russia” Olympic team in 2018.

New York Rangers were pleased by their response after a poor first period

Smith discussed how well the New York Rangers responded after falling behind in the first period. “The Islanders came out hot and I don’t think we weathered the storm as well as we wanted to,” Smith said in his post-game Zoom conference. “But then we go back to our game. We talked about it in the dressing room and I like what our leadership core said there. Our young players bought in and we played good in the second and third.”

Head coach David Quinn echoed Smith’s feelings in his post-game conference. “I certainly like what we did in the second and third periods. I am disappointed that we did not get the two points but every point is life and death now but we have got to be better three-on-three, something that we will probably work on in the next practice. But I did like how we bounced back after a tough first period.”

The Rangers will now face the New Jersey Devils for four straight games, starting with a game on Tuesday night at the Prudential Center.



Colin Blackwell: Player on the Rise for the New York Rangers?

Nothing separates the New York Rangers fan base, as well as all of New York sports, like questioning the decisions Big Apple coaches make in their lineups. Today, the Rangers raised a few eyebrows when head coach David Quinn shuffled his lineups in practice, as posted by’s Vince Mercogliano:

Of course one of the first things that everyone noticed was the “demotions” of Kappo Kakko to the third line and newcomer Vitali Kravtsov to the fourth line.

It was not like either player deserved to be demoted and Quinn explained after practice in his Zoom conference that neither player should look at the line shuffles in this manner. “We like Kakko, it is certainly nothing with the way he has played,” Quinn said. “I am anxious to see how they (Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, and Filip Chytil) play together.”

As far as Kravtsov going to the fourth line, Quinn said “That doesn’t mean that Kravstov will be down there forever, or even during the whole game, you can move people around. Right now we feel that it is the best lineup we have at our disposal.”

The New York Rangers shift Blackwell to the second line.

The other move was to put Colin Blackwell to the second line with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome. Blackwell also received some time with the second power-play unit during Tuesday’s practice.

As for Blackwell skating on the second line, Quinn said: “One of the things that we thought were getting Blackwell on that line with Strome and Bread, it gives that line a little bit of a different look. This is the best lineup we feel we have for tomorrow night.”

With the move up from the fourth line to the second, Blackwell will bring a little more of a defensive presence to that line. He has also been a little more opportunistic than some other players and is not afraid to shoot the puck, something that Quinn has stressed with the team in recent games.

Blackwell discussed his new role in his post-practice Zoom conference. “I was just kind of waiting for my chance,” Blackwell said. “I have done it in the American Hockey League on many different occasions. That chance doesn’t always come, and a lot of good players do get their chance but then they don’t necessarily make the most out of it.”

The Rangers signed Blackwell as a free agent on a two-year contract worth $725,000 annually.

Blackwell had one of his best games in the NHL on March 28, which also happened to be his birthday. On that night, he scored a career-high 2 goals against the Washington Capitals.

The Rangers will start Igor Shesterkin in goal as they begin a two-game set at MSG against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.






The New York Rangers Squander Third Period Lead Against Buffalo

The New York Rangers once again gave up a late third-period goal against the worst team in the NHL. This time it cost them a point in the standings as they lose in a shootout to the Buffalo Sabres by the score of 3-2.

Artemi Panarin scored goals in the first and second periods to lead the Blueshirts scoring effort.

Panarin continues to contribute in so many ways for the Rangers. He has posted a multi-point game in each of the last three games with three goals and four assists. Panarin has also posted a multi-point game in 12 of 26 games he has played in the 2020-21 season.

Adam Fox assisted on Panarin’s second goal. His 29 assists this season are tied for the most among NHL defensemen, tied with Victor Hedman.

This game also marked the debut of Vitali Kravtsov, who joined the Rangers after a very nice season in the KHL. With the addition of Kravtsov, the Rangers played four Russian-born players in tonight’s game (Panarin, Pavel Buchnevich, Igor Shesterkin, and Kravtsov). According to the NHL public relations department, this will be tied for the most Russian-born players to appear in the same game in Rangers franchise history.

The New York Rangers fall short in Vitali Kravstov’s season debut.

Kravtsov finished the game with 10:45 TOI and three shots, including one diving attempt that almost won the game for the Blueshirts.

In his post-game Zoom conference, Panarin talked about how his young Russian teammate fared in his first game. “He started a little nervous at the beginning,” Panarin said. ” He played not to make a mistake but also played for the team. Had a really good chance at the end, and we’re really happy to have [him].”

Even in the loss, head coach David Quinn was still impressed with Kravtsov’s debut. In his post-game Zoom comments, Quinn said: “He played well. I thought he was engaged, I thought he played at a good pace and I actually liked that line (he played with Alexis Lafreniere and Filip Chytil), for the most part.”

The Rangers return home on Tuesday night to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.




How will Vitali Kravtsov fit in the New York Rangers lineup?

One team’s loss is the New York Ranger’s gain.

Now that the KHL’s Traktor team has been eliminated from the playoffs, Vitali Kravtsov is expected to join the Rangers very soon. The ninth overall pick in 2018 NHL will have to go through a few pandemic and non-pandemic hurdles before playing in games. Kravtsov will have to go through the visa process in traveling from Russia to the states. He will have to satisfy the proper COVID-19 protocols, which should take roughly 10-to-14 days.

Kravtsov’s appearance in a Rangers jersey is eagerly anticipated, especially after having a fine season in the KHL. He finished the KHL season with 16 goals and 24 points in 49 games. Even though his Traktor team was eliminated in 5 games, Kravtsov did score two goals and have two assists in that round.

Now he brings his skills to broadway, but the big question will be on how the Rangers will use him in their lineup.

The New York Rangers should bring Kravtsov along somewhat slowly

Even though Kravtsov has been playing hockey, and playing well, he will unlikely jump right into the first two lines. The KHL is not the NHL. Having him jump into even a third line, along with possible young teammates of Alexis Lafreniere and Filip Chytil, is not likely.

Depending on how things shake out after satisfying protocols, Kravtsov could spend time on the taxi squad. The Rangers may decide to give him time to skate with and get acclimated with his new teammates. If ends up looking ready for NHL play, he will probably start on the fourth line. Many need to remember that he struggled to adapt to the North American game after signing his entry-level contract in May 2019.

After a tough 2019-20 season, Kravtsov did return for the summer restart, which seemed to reinforce his commitment. It was also reported that he participated in the summer session with an improved attitude. It was also reported from scouts and sources from the Rangers that noted his improved physicality, defensive-zone coverage, and willingness to work in dangerous areas of the ice.

Whether it is sometime later this year or at the beginning of next, Kravtsov will end up spending a lot of time in the top nine for the Blueshirts.

Head coach David Quinn believes that your line placement will be based on merit. However, at some point, the Rangers will want to see their young forward will more skilled players versus the fourth-line grinders.

Much of that will depend on how well Kravtsov has taken to heart the lessons he learned from last year.








New York Rangers could recall Vitali Kravtsov from the KHL by next week

The New York Rangers will have to decide if they want to recall Vitali Kravtsov from the KHL in the next week or so once his team is eliminated from the playoffs.

The Ranger’s 9th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft scored 16 goals along with 24 points in 49 games playing for Traktor. His team will begin a best of seven first-round series against Salavat Yulaev on Wednesday.

Strong Season in the KHL

Kravtsov had a successful season playing for Traktor this season. His accomplishments this season show how far he has grown since last season’s demotion and subsequent departure to the KHL where things went from bad to worse for the then 20-year-old;

  • Tallied the game-tying goal with eight seconds remaining in regulation and led all skaters with 20:26 of ice time in the final game of the regular season on Feb. 27 against Metallurg Magnitogorsk; posted a plus-two rating on Feb. 25 against Torpedo.
  • Established KHL career-highs in several categories, including goals (16), points (24), plus/minus rating (plus-eight), and shots on goal (125).
  • Led Traktor in even-strength goals (13), tied for the team lead in goals, tied for second in shots on goal per game (2.6), and ranked fourth in shots on goal in 2020-21.
  • Tied for 19th in the KHL in even-strength goals this season.
    Among KHL players who were in their U22 season or younger in 2020-21, ranked second in goals, ranked fourth in points, and tied for eighth in plus/minus rating.
  • Has recorded 30 goals in 148 career KHL games, which is tied for the eighth-most by a player while in his U22 season or younger in league history (tied with Artemi Panarin, who registered 30 goals in 158 career KHL games while in his U22 season or younger).
  • Traktor posted a 10-3-2 record in games in which he has tallied a goal and a 15-5-2 record in games in which he notched a point this season.

Traktor begins its playoff series against Salavat Yulaev on Mar. 3
Game 1 – Mar. 3
Game 2 – Mar. 5
Game 3 – Mar. 7
Game 4 – Mar. 9
Game 5* – Mar. 11
Game 6* – Mar. 13
Game 7* – Mar. 15
*If Necessary. (Per NYR PR)

Room to Join

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks wrote on Monday that the Rangers should have the cap space to recall and insert him into the lineup immediately.

“Under his entry-level contract, Kravtsov is in for a cap charge of $925,000 plus an $800,000 bonus package. The Rangers should have enough room in another couple of weeks for Kravtsov as long as injured parties return sooner rather than later and further injuries do not occur that would force the team to keep a bloated roster.”

The Rangers could certainly use his offensive skill with the team struggling to find the back of the net. The club has been playing with Artemi Panarin due to a leave of absence along with an injured Philip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko remaining to be listed on the NHL Covid Protocol list and the missing Mika Zibaeneajd wh has tallied just two goals this season (one was an empty-net goal).


Nils Lundkvist, Lauri Pajuniemi lead the field in this week’s Rangers Prospect report

The future New York Rangers have been doing very well this season playing in various leagues overseas and locally in the United States.

Some popular names keep producing points as the organization keeps a watchful eye on who could possibly come over to Broadway and help the Blueshirts in the near future.

The following prospect report was compiled by the New York Rangers PR department.

5-11 / 187
July 27, 2000 (20 years old)
Pitea, Sweden
Acquired – First round, 28th overall, in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
Current Team – Lulea (SHL)

Season Stats – 40 GP, 10-14-24, +1, 16 PIM.

Represented Sweden at the Beijer Hockey Games; served as one of Sweden’s alternate captains in the tournament.
Tallied a power-play goal and led all skaters with six shots on goal in a game-high 24:56 of ice time to help Sweden defeat the Czech Republic on Feb. 11.
Led all skaters with 28:07 of ice time (including 9:03 of ice time in the third period and 3:30 of ice time in overtime) and registered three shots on goal on Feb. 13 against Russia.

Right Wing
6-0 / 196
September 12, 1999 (21 years old)
Tampere, Finland
Acquired – Fifth round, 132nd overall, in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft
Current Team – TPS (Liiga)

Season Stats – 26 GP, 11-10-21, +8, 22 PIM.

Posted back-to-back multi-point games on Feb. 10 against Ilves (0-2-2) and Feb. 12 against KooKoo (1-1-2); registered 24 shot attempts in four games during the past week.
Has registered a point in 16 of the last 19 games (10-9-19)
Since the start of last season, has recorded 61 points (37 goals, 24 assists) in 75 games in Liiga; leads the league in goals over the span.

Right Wing
6-3 / 189
December 23, 1999 (21 years old).
Vladivostok, Russia
Acquired – First round, Ninth overall, in 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
Current Team – Traktor (KHL)

Season Stats – 46 GP, 15-8-23, +6, 12 PIM

Represented Russia at the Beijer Hockey Games; skated in three games.
Played with Russia’s Men’s National Team for the first time in his career.

6-0 / 185
March 1, 1998 (22 years old)
Aanekoski, Finland
Acquired – Fourth round, 98th overall, in the 2016 NHL Entry Draf.t
Current Team – Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL)

Season Stats – 2 GP, 2-1-3, +2, 0 PIM

Tallied a goal on Feb. 11 at Providence.
Has registered a goal/point in each of Hartford’s two games this season.

Left Wing
6-3 / 212
February 5, 2002 (19 years old).
Toronto, Ontario
Acquired – Second round, 60th overall, in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
Current Team – Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL)

Season Stats – 2 GP, 1-1-2, +2, 0 PIM

Recorded his first career AHL assist and posted a plus-one rating on Feb. 11 at Providence.
Has tallied a point in each of Hartford’s two games this season.

6-0 / 200
October 13, 1998 (22 years old).
Walnut Creek, California
Acquired – Signed as an undrafted free agent on March 10, 2020.
Current Team – Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL)

Season Stats – 2 GP, 1-0-1, E, 2 PIM

Recorded his first career AHL goal/point, which was the game-winning goal, on Feb. 11 at Providence.

5-9 / 165
September 9, 2002 (18 years old)
Providence, Rhode Island
Acquired – Fifth round, 134th overall, in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
Current Team – Providence College (NCAA)

Season Stats – 13 GP, 3-4-7, -2, 14 PIM

Tallied an assist on the game-winning goal, recorded three shots on goal, and posted a plus-one rating on Feb. 12 against UConn.
Extended his point streak to four games (2-2-4); has registered a point in five of the last six games (2-3-5).
Has recorded a point in seven of 11 games with Providence College following his return to the team after winning a gold medal with the United States at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship (3-4-7).

Right Wing
6-1 / 173
June 27, 2000 (20 years old).
Westwood, Massachusetts
Acquired – Seventh round, 216th overall, in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
Current Team – Northeastern University (NCAA)

Season Stats – 15 GP, 6-3-9, E, 4 PIM

Tied a single-game collegiate career-high with two points (1-1-2) and registered three shots on goal on Feb. 12 against New Hampshire.
Has registered a goal/point in three of the last six games (3-2-5); has posted a multi-point game in two of the last four games (2-2-4).
Has established collegiate career-highs in goals (six) and points (nine)
Is tied for second on Northeastern in power-play goals (three) and is tied for third on the team in goals this season.

Right Wing
5-11 / 170
January 14, 2001 (20 years old)
Vaughan, Ontario
Acquired – Seventh round, 205th overall, in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Current Team – University of Michigan (NCAA)

Season Stats – 16 GP, 4-3-7, +9, 6 PIM

Registered a goal and posted a plus-two rating on Feb. 13 against Wisconsin.
Has tallied a point in five of the last eight games (2-3-5, +8 over the span).
The University of Michigan has posted a 6-1-0 record in games which he has notched a point this season, including a 4-0-0 record in games he has tallied a goal.

6-2 / 182
April 29, 2001 (19 years old)
Wyndotte, Michigan
Acquired – Fourth round, 112th overall, in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Current Team – Utah (ECHL)

Season Stats – 11 GP, 3-5-8, E, 6 PIM

Tallied a goal in the shootout on Feb. 12 against Wichita.

6-2 / 183
July 23, 2000 (20 years old).
Stockholm, Sweden
Acquired – Second round, 39th overall, in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
Current Team – Mora (Allsvenskan)

Season Stats – 20 GP, 7-8-3, 3.41 GAA, .882 SV%, 1 SO

Stopped all 18 shots to earn a win and his first shutout of the season on Feb. 9 against Sodertalje.

*Kravtsov will be eligible to join the Rangers once the KHL season/playoffs have concluded.

New York Rangers’ prospects thriving in Europe as North American rinks remain empty

With the sports world and the NHL in a state of flux, the New York Rangers‘ brass made a very wise decision when they decided to loan some of their prospects to teams in European leagues that are currently playing. A wise decision when you consider that the Rangers’ NCAA prospects haven’t played since early March, which also holds true for their minor leaguers.

Enter the leagues in Europe that are currently playing hockey. It was widely known that most of the Rangers’ prospects playing in Europe were going to play there regardless of the pandemic, such as Nils Lundkvist, Yegor Rysev, and Vitali Kravtsov.

“Especially for young players who really at this point are yet to be established, not only in the NHL but in North America, to get them in games, to get them playing, to get them on a team at this stage of their career, to continue their development, is important,” said Rangers assistant GM Chris Drury.

Recently the Blueshirts put a video up on social media that highlights the promise of Lundkvist.

This fueled speculation that the young swede might be donning a Blueshirt when the NHL season likely opens in January.

As Lee Corso is famous for saying “Not so fast, my friend.”

While many scouts feel that Lundkvist could be NHL-ready by the end of the Swedish season, he remains unsigned by the Rangers and under contract in Sweden, which means that he will not be coming to New York until the end of the Swedish league season or the start of the 2121-22 season.

Even if somehow Lundqvist could come over, it might not be that simple when you take into consideration that some of these prospects would play 30-40 games overseas, then come over to an NHL season that might begin in January and play in something resembling an 82-game season plus playoffs. That may not be the best course for young players.

Lundkvist, the 2019-20 European Player of the Year, has tallied two goals and an assist in eight games for Lulea of the SHL and has looked every bit of the gifted right-handed offensive defenseman that should soon be an integral part of the Blueshirts sometime in the near future. But not likely in the 20-21 season.

Playing overseas has also helped Vitali Kravtsov, who struggled in the 2019-20 season. It is well known that Kravtsov signed his entry-level contract, came over to the states, had a good camp but didn’t make the team, then got himself loaned out of Hartford to Traktor of the KHL. Even though he did finish the year at Hartford, many feel that it might be better for him to play out this year in the KHL.

Kravtsov has started the season very well, scoring six goals and two assists for eight points in 11 games.

Another prospect who could come across the Atlantic is defenseman Tarmo Reunanen, who has attended prospect camps and last season’s training camp. While he will likely start at Hartford (or the NHL’s version of baseball’s “alternative sites” for young players) Reunanen is currently playing in TUTO Turku in his native Finland where he has posted two goals and an assist in his first three games,

Reunanen is an offensive-minded blueliner who eliteprospects has stated that he ” can carry the puck, dangle through traffic, and set up his teammates. While he relies on his offensive skills, he is not a defensive liability.”

Yegor Rykov suffered an injury during training camp and it took a toll on the big defenseman for much of last season, but he did post two goals and nine assists in 27 games in Hartford. He was obtained from the New Jersey Devils in the 2018 deadline deal that sent Michael Grabner to New Jersey and was a fifth-round pick in 2016.

This year Rykovhas appeared in 16 games and has five assists for CSKA Moscow in the KHL.

So at a time when hockey should have started up in North America, at least some young New York Rangers are seeing some valuable ice-time.










New York Ranger prospect Vitali Kravtsov out will lower body injury

New York Rangers

New York Ranger’s prospect Vitali Kravtsov will miss today’s game against Dynamo. He was injured in his last game and may be placed on the injured list. There is no update on the severity of the injury or how long Kravtsov will be out.

The injury was reported by Gillian Kemmerer.

Kravtsov has done very well over in the KHL, as he already has as many goals in 11 games this season in the KHL than he did in 39 games in the AHL before the COVID-19 shutdown.

The young Russian-born player was the Rangers’ first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft (ninth overall). He recorded seven points in his KHL team’s first seven games.