NHL Rumors: Rangers look to build value in Kravtsov; hold up on Eichel trade; and Maple Leafs trade outlook

Reports out of media outlets in Russia indicate the New York Rangers have agreed to loan Vitali Kravtsov to his former KHL team, Traktor.

“Vitaly Kravtsov will transfer to Traktor from New York Rangers on loan until the end of the season,” Sport24 stated. “At the moment, negotiations are underway with the Chelyabinsk club on salaries. The Rangers agreed to the move.”

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NHL Rumors: Rangers loan Kravtosv

The move to loan Kravtsov is very similar to how the Rangers handled another disgruntled first round pick in Lias Andrersson. After failing to get the 7th overall selection from the 2017 Draft to return to their AHL affiliate, Andersson was loaned to HV-71 in the SHL until his trade at the next draft in 2020.

Andersson was unwilling to remain in the Rangers organization after several years of being unable to stick with the big club. Kravtsov, was even less willing to do so and has been sitting in Russia since the end of the preseason. His mistrust in the organization and how he’s been treated have been documented by multiple outlets.

Latest reports indicate that GM Chris Drury has asked for a top prospect in return for Kravtsov. That’s something he is unlikely to get if the 21 year-old is just sitting idle waiting for a trade.

Jack Eichel trade…still waiting

jack Eichel trade
Feb 26, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) before the game against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Stop me if you heard this one before, but Jack Eichel is still with the Sabres after days of trade rumors indicating a deal was close to done.

So what is the latest hold up? Multiple reports indicate it is Buffalo’s unwillingness to retain any salary on Eichel’s $10 million AAV for this season and four more that’s the cause for delay. The belief is that Vegas, who is the team reportedly close to trading for Eichel is trying to engage with a third party to help eat some of the cap hit.

The delay in the deal could also be a blessing for the Knights. Yesterday, the team learned that William Karlsson will be out six weeks with a broken foot. His loss, compounded with Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone being out have likely complicated the trade from moving forward as well.

Maple Leafs cap outlook says trades need to happen

After the Toronto Maple Leafs announced an eight-year, $60 million extension for defenseman Morgan Rielly, many in the media started to work on the cap gymnastics.

A look at the Maple Leafs salary cap situation for the 2022-23 season indicates that they will have around 58% of their salary cap dedicated to five players.

John Tavares, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and now Rielly will account for $48 million in cap space next season. The Leafs will need to start considering making trades in preparation for next season.

So who is gone to deal with Toronto’s ever increasing cap crunch?

James Mirtle of The Athletic believes the first casualty will be Ilya Mikheyev, who will be a UFA next summer. The other is goaltender Jack Campbell. Alex Kerfoot, Justin Holl and Jake Muzzin also are mentioned as candidates that could be on the way out.