Analytics show promise for Vitali Kravtsov

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Vitali Kravtsov has been with the Rangers for nine (soon to be ten) games. One of three prize rookies from the Rangers 2018 draft class, Kravtsov had an absolutely stellar career in the KHL before he made his way over here for good just a few weeks ago. Kravtsov had 55 points in 148 regular season games and 18 points in 31 playoff games in the KHL. Since he was the 9th pick in the 2018 draft, the organization has thought extremely highly of him. He has a bright future in New York. His career is still in the extremely early stages, so what do the analytics tell us about Kravtsov’s game thus far?

Kravtsov has primarily played fourth line minutes since he’s been a Ranger, playing mostly with Brett Howden and Kevin Rooney. I could’ve sworn someone in the organization said he wasn’t a fourth line player, but I guess I imagined that. Early on, it’s clear he isn’t afraid to shoot the puck. He’s only been credited with 12 shots on goal but watching the games, he’s clearly had many more attempts on net.

Kravtsov is a cerebral player who sees the game at a high level. Some of the passes he has gotten off have been straight up jaw dropping. Once he eventually moves up the lineup for good, there are going to be a lot of happy players scoring off his feeds. Not to knock Rooney and Howden, but they aren’t the best linemates to suit Kravtsov’s skill set.

He only has two points in his nine games so far. That will almost certainly increase since the kid’s confidence is only growing. The analytics have Kravtsov’s CF% and xGF% at 47.46% and 42.86% respectively. It’s not great, but it’s not awful either. The CF% is encouraging this early because despite playing with some of the worst forwards on the team, the Rangers still spend almost 50% of his time on the ice in the offensive zone.

Remember, Kravtsov was not at Rangers training camp this season. Any adjustments to David Quinn’s system he’s learned on the fly through a few practices before entering the lineup. Safe to say, he isn’t coming out. As a 21-year-old forward the early signs are really encouraging.

His xGF% is hovering around forty percent, which again isn’t that good. Ultimately want that to be higher, around 50% or above, but again it’s super early in Kravtsov’s career. That number will go up as he becomes more comfortable in the NHL. He’s already begun to learn how to drive offense when he’s on the ice and it’ll be special to see when he moves up the lineup. The thought of Kravtsov and Panarin playing together on a full time basis is tantalizing when you see what he’s doing with the likes of Howden and Rooney.

Finally, let’s take a look at his ixG, which is at 0.68. Kravtsov is actually doing a bit better in the goal department than his ixG says. He only has one goal on the season and the low total of 12 shots has certainly contributed to his low ixG. Taking more shots will change this.

According to his ixG, he shouldn’t even have the one goal but with his play on the ice, Kravtsov should have at least three that I can think of. Ullmark’s crazy save in Buffalo a few weeks ago comes to mind. As does Lindy Ruff’s bush league challenge. Kravtsov would have at least three goals and four points if the luck goes his way.

It’s early, but the analytics show Kravtsov looks promising early on in his young New York Rangers career. He isn’t tanking defensively and he in generating a decent amount of offense. If David Quinn is truly consistent and wants to reward good play, expect to see him in a top-six role next season. This will be critical as the Rangers look to continue their path to Stanley Cup contention.