New York Rangers loan Vitali Kravtsov to KHL team after refusing to report to minors

The New York Rangers sent forward Vitali Kravtsov, the No. 9 overall draft pick in 2018, to Traktor Chelyabinsk of the Kontinental Hockey League on loan.

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

Whether that happens remains to be seen.

Rangers loan Kravtsov

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Apr 6, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Vitali Kravtsov #74 of the New York Rangers prepares to skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at Madison Square Garden on April 06, 2021 in New York City.. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Kravtsov played in 20 games for the Rangers in 2020-21, recording two goals and two assists. But this season, the 21-year-old refused assignment to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League and has been waiting at home in Russia for the next move — including a trade.

“I want to thank the Rangers for working with me, and appreciate the open and honest conversations we have had during this process,” Kravtsov in a Rangers’ news release. “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 played part of the 2019-20 season in Hartford and tallied 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 39 games.

He also has played parts of five seasons in Traktor, including in 2020-21, when he appeared in 49 games and scored 24 points (15 goals, eight assists).

Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said before the start of the season that Kravtsov’s demotion to Hartford occurred because other players beat him out for roster spots.

–Field Level Media