Should the NY Rangers consider a Vitali Kravtsov trade?

The NY Rangers have a problem. It’s a good problem. They currently have five potential top-six wingers in Chris Kreider, Artemi Panarin, Pavel Buchnevich, Kaapo Kakko (potential), and Alexis Lafreniere (potential). Two are already locked in long term, and there’s a solid argument that the other three could follow suit. That begs the question: Do the Rangers look to trade Vitali Kravtsov to address other areas on the roster?

Dealing From A Position Of Strength

That’s the name of the game with any trade. The Rangers did this when they traded Joey Keane, a RD, for Julien Gauthier, a RW. Then the Rangers won the draft lottery and will have the top pick in the draft. This comes one year after landing the second overall pick.

When the Rangers made the Keane/Gauthier swap, they hadn’t won the draft lottery. It’s amazing how one event can change everything. Now all of a sudden, the Rangers are flush with wingers at the NHL level. They also have players like Lauri Pajuniemi and Karl Henriksson in the system. The cupboard would be far from bare in a Kravtsov trade.

Perhaps He’s Headed The Wrong Way?

This is *way too premature* at this juncture. I’m going to repeat that. This is *way too premature* at this juncture. However the Rangers will need to know when to cut bait, even if it’s with a 9th overall pick. Byron Bader has been looking at how prospects develop, and the results don’t look good at the moment for Kravtsov.

Now it’s worth noting Kravtsov had a very rough year last season. The Rangers rushed him to the AHL when he probably could have benefited from more time in Russia. It would have given him time to mature enough to make the big move to the US and the NHL. The drama impacted Kravtsov’s play, and it was a step backwards from his very strong campaign the prior season.

Much has been made about Kravtsov spending next season in the KHL, but if anything that’s a good thing. It will give him the opportunity to get his career back on track. He’s looked strong so far, which is certainly a good thing. However if these trends continue, or if he doesn’t rebound completely, then the Rangers might get caught holding the bag.

There’s Still Great Value

Vitali Kravtsov might be the best trade chip the Rangers have that they might actually move. He’s two years removed from being a top-ten selection, and he’s not even 21 years old yet. Two seasons ago he was solid, and while he did take that step back last season, he did have a few good runs.

A good portion of Kravtsov’s trade value may be impacted by his start to the KHL season. He’s had a solid start, but it’s very early. A strong rebound season is what he needs to get back on track, and that will play into what the Rangers can get with him as the centerpiece of a deal. There’s also significant value in his entry-level contract in a flat salary cap.

If the Rangers want to make true upgrades to the roster, then they will have to give something of value. Parting with Kravtsov would be difficult, especially since he’s a top-ten pick. But a trade involving Vitali Kravtsov may be the move that lands the Rangers a solid young LD or center.

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  • They can consider this if/when they actually have a problem. Right now the guys they aren’t using are either not signed yet and/or are young enough to slide in their contracts. When Kravtsov plays an NHL game and looks like a star, then Gorton can cut away some fat. He can use that to make his team better by bringing in a new younger cheaper player and trading away the older, more expensive player. Till then I’d say it’s irresponsible to consider trading a kid we invested a (early) 1st round draft pick on.
    This will be a good idea in a couple years from now.

  • Ugh, you’re trade happy Dave … you really want an LD or a C no matter what it seems … we have a few already, IN the system … and the expansion draft is coming up.

      • “Active” can mean a lot of things — it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to trade away their better prospects or DeAngelo — and I’m not even sure it means they will be looking for an LD or a Center. I mean what else are they going to stay … “hey fans, we’re going to do nothing this off-season”.

        Before they can start making trades to fill perceived “holes”, they have to take care of the dead weight — because if they can’t move Staal and/or Smith, there’s no reason to add a real good LD when they have so many developing on the horizon. This is especially true given the expansion draft — adding a good LD that will force the trading of DeAngelo or the loss of ADA or Lindgren or possibly this new LD is bad asset management. The same holds true if they grab a Center — when Strome looks like a good candidate to be exposed.

        • I feel like I shouldn’t need to say this, but just because I write about a potential trade target, doesn’t mean I advocate for trading for him. I’m just doing my research and noting it *could* happen.

          • No, I get that Dave — but sometimes you’re a dog with a bone … you skewered Lindgren for a long time (unjustifiably IMO), you almost never miss an opportunity to somehow diminish ADA, and in this series of “trade proposals” you never seem to consider the impact any of these moves would have on the team from an expansion standpoint. That seems ultra relevant when talking about targeted players right now … to add you’ll have to subtract unless the player is a rookie or young prospect.

          • “you almost never miss an opportunity to somehow diminish ADA”

            This is not even close to being true. The Staal-DeAngelo pairing was reasonably successful this past season. Dave basically gave all the credit for this to DeAngelo.

            The truth about this pairing of course was that by design, DeAngelo was more offense-minded and Staal was tasked with covering for his partner defensively. The fact that everyone else here seemed be excoriating Staal and giving all the credit to TDA does not negate the fact that Dave did likewise – for the most part blaming Staal whenever possible and heaping praise on DeAngelo.

            You are right that Dave is like a dog with a bone here, but you have the wrong bone. Dave does not want to pay the third RD a lot of money and long term, that seems to necessitate jettisoning one of our present trio or converting one to the left side. He has advocated making DeAngelo a left defenseman but is resigned to the likelihood that this won’t happen. [Since TDA is due a big raise, he seems that obvious one to trade.]

            Secondly, he wants to undo the ill affects of the Skjei trade – not understanding IMO that management is committed to accepting a short term weakness there to better serve the rebuild long term.


            I may be wrong here but trading a player just because you have issues with the guy sounds like something I might do, but it does not sound to me like something Dave would do.

          • He also suggests his trade value is relatively low. So sign the player to a 2-3 year deal and trade him AFTER the expansion draft and after he’s had another “career year” (ahem). Right now we can afford to protect him.

            Re: RD money, what difference does it make what side the money is spent on — you can rock 3 ELCs on LD after next year … and as I’ve suggested, consider trading Tony D (if he’s the one) next year. Now is not the time, we have no competent RD to replace him at this moment.

            The only reason he said anything nice about ADA is because he’s playing with Staal. He always takes a shot at Tony’s defensive game which isn’t half as bad as he suggests (neither is Lindgren’s, another one he use to take a lot of shots at) … and he often brings up Tony’s “past issues” … a veiled swipe at his maturity and possibly his outspoken nature (perhaps even his politics). Sorry, I sense a slight bias.

  • I dont think hes untouchable if thats the question. at this point you would take him being a serviceable nhl player so for me he shouldnt hold up the right deal.

  • One thing I can say in general is we need to be a little more patient with our prospects. This kid is 20 and we’re talking potential bust? I am not opposed to trading him if the deal makes sense for the team. But if you’re talking about trading him because we already have 5 wings who could(probably will be) be top 6, I would pass. And maybe he’s on the 3rd line for a year or 2 before hand? Buchnevich would probably have more value in the trade market and after next season he’s going to want a big pay raise.

    Also you keep talking about the flat cap. It’s flat for us too and we also need these young players on our roster to balance out our big contracts. Once all these guys have to get paid, the Kreider contract may not look so good either. Especially if the cap stays flat more than 2 years. Finally I believe we are transitioning out of a rebuild as opposed to actually being out of the rebuild. We need to bide our time and realize this is a process that won’t be solved quickly.

    • “This is *way too premature* at this juncture. I’m going to repeat that. This is *way too premature* at this juncture.”

    • There is a grey area between being patient with your prospects and realizing what is likely in your cupboard. In terms of high end projections early results matter.

  • what is being overlooked here is this guy can play C!!!!
    Has demonstrated this at high level in international play.
    He needs to get comfy w/size of NHL rink, adjust game accordingly.
    Has the talent to adequately speed up/slow down his game.

    This guy is supposed to be another Kreider, w/less beast factor, but smoother skating East-West, a better shooter and a much better passer. Would be lights out as facilitator w/Kakko [driver of play] lefty shot LW and Panarin [finisher/scorer] a righty shot, at RW.

    There is a reason we drafted this guy over Dobson.

    Also, he had a great camp last season, and we mishandled him. That is on brass mgmt not the player. GMJG has done a great job, but Namest. was a debacle and not getting him off the team sooner wasted preaseason mins that Krav and others needed. Also, mins were given to the ingrate Lias in a desperate attempt to legit his 7OA selection. He was given top mins w/likes of Kreider and Zib which he did NOT deserve, and that wasting of mins had negative reverberation.

    peace out

  • The Rangers aren’t in a panic situations where they should even consider trading away a young controllable player in Kravtsov. Over the next couple of years, the Rangers will need to make decisions on extending current contracts. First, they need to decide if Stome is part of the future or should they trade him now while his value is up. Next, they need to determine if Buchnevich is worth a new deal as well.

    • Re Buch, their views on VK and his progression this season , 11 shots in 2 khl games is a good start, will likely influence such decision. Like to what degree will they go to (over)pay a rw who hasnt broke 50 points ?

  • Give Kravtsov some more time playing hockey in the Kazakhstan Hockey League and see how he develops. Way too early to throw in the towel on him. Stay the course, stick with the plan. Pushing the panic button at this juncture will result in the club becoming mediocre for years to club.

  • Dude looked good those 2 games in KHL. considering he missed preseason games and had 1 month gap in team training, feeling he is the guy who is going to make Buch tradable

  • Maybe a bit far fetched, but see if we can package him for the number 2 first rounder Quinton Byfield!

    • Now that would make sense for our rebuild, but the price for the #2 would have to include him, our #22 and at a bare minimum a top blue chip prospect. Even that doesn’t sound like enough to me if I were LA … throw in Georgiev+.

  • Kravtsov is an outstanding hockey talent. But, IMO, he is soft physically and emotionally. He needs to mature and grow into his frame, which he will do, he will be a competent, 50-60 point, top 6 winger. Some Russian kids take a little more time. He will be fine.

    • “But, IMO, he is soft physically and emotionally”

      How so?? Probably one of the rarest stuff to come around from the KHL. A kid, we’re talking about 18-19 yrs old and can speak fluent English.

  • I say trade Mr. Inconsistency Kreider before his new contract kicks in and we’re stuck with him for years. They should have traded him at the dead line. This will be a contract that will cost us a young player we won’t be able to afford to sign because of it!

    • Who could have realistically predicted we would get the 1st pick? In hindsight maybe Kreider doesn’t get resigned — but that’s Tuesday Morning quarterbacking.

    • Dude Kreider is not going to play that contract out. He should have left and bet on himself… Kakko alone was going to probably push him out.. Laffy will 100% push him out the door faster now, don’t worry about that. PP will need room for those two and Zib’s window of consistency is open due to Laff, sniper/playmaker needs PP1 with Panarin and 5v5 with a actual 1c..

      • Pete isn’t going to like this convo very much.. He thinks Kreider can still develop into a heart and soul type, LOL.

    • Johnny Red…….right you are about Kreider. I think the reason he didnt go at the trade deadline was because JG couldn’t get what he wanted. No disrespect to Chris but to JG, and I am his fan, he lost a lot on this deal in terms of flexibility. Cap is a top ten first rounder every year. He gave up a lot not only to CK but to JT as well. Watching this “bubble” I think JT would get turned inside out with regularity. Both contracts will hurt within 2 years.

  • This comes to a head when they decide what they’ll need to do with Buchnevich. I would have preferred they traded Buch this offseason to address a good 2C / top 4 LHD, with the assumption that Kravtsov/Gauthier could be carried on the 2nd/3rd lines by good centers (Mika/2C acquired in Buch trade/Chytil) and LWs (Panarin/Kreider/Laf) until they matured, but team clearly doesn’t think they saw enough out of Kakko/Gauthier to make such a move. If the move is to either pay Buch $6mil/year for five years and trade Kravtsov OR trade Buch for an acceptable center/defenseman and elevate Kravtsov and see what they have in him, I’d vote option 2.

    • Buch won’t get you a good top 6 center.. You will need to add a lot more for a does all type of top 6 center or a consistent type of Strome player…

  • Appreciate the articles and being able to get some ranger hockey juices flowing but stop trying to rush everything.
    Team is super young and needs to grow and learn together.
    Stay the course—keep drafting and let the kids develop naturally by not forcing them into the NHL to early.

  • No friggin way do they move this kid. He hasn’t played a game yet, and you want to trade him, WTF????????????

    Mark these words, Buch gets moved before this kid is!!!!!!!!!!!

  • The Rangers took Kravtsov ahead of other guys ranked higher, meaning they started out with a higher opinion of him than other teams had. Then he had a bad year. Trading him now looks like selling low to me.

    IF (a very unlikely if IMO) the Rangers see Kravtsov as a washout, they should get what they can, but otherwise they should at least hang on to him long enough for his value to rise. There is certainly no urgency.

  • Agree trading Buch is not a good move, the same for other young Rangers with high ceilings. Kravtsov included, maturing young players certainly can involve their physical and mental growth. By the way, Kreider must do some stepping up in play, or move his salary while you can.

  • Isn’t is possible that winning the Draft this year, and netting Kakko last year, has given the Rangers cover to allow Kravtsov the time to develop. And even if he bombs or doesn’t develop into a star, they have Lafreniere and Kakko to take the attention off him. Now if all three bomb, then none of this will matter and we’ll be talking about a whole new scenario, involving a whole new set of prospects.

    • mickeydee

      Agree 100% with everything said. There are people on this site that are already calling Kakko a dud, and would move him if they could. I’ve waited to see my team win a cup for so long, with the way we are building this group, we could win several down the road. Stop with this nonsense already, give the kids some time to grow!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Pretty interesting how kravtsov’s value has plummeted since he was drafted. Think about what it would take to trade for a top 10 pick. If NYR could get anything like that haul for Kravtsov, I they would snap it up. Unfortunately for variety of factors he’s like the proverbial new car we drove off the lot and hit a tree and lost half its value, and now have to hope it can be repairs properly and rehabilitated.

  • Move him. Move him to move up in the first round. Him and our other first rounder to Ottawa for their first(take a center)

  • The young Russian is tall and lanky. He will fill out eventually, and the team should help him develop physically through a good training program. He has lots of skill. Just add teaching and patience and it will pay off. No, don’t trade him unless something of equal or better value comes our way. I doubt that will happen straight up.

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