New York Rangers Vitali Kravtsov
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers selected the 18-year-old Russian Vitali Kravtsov with the ninth overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft.

With the ninth pick of the NHL Draft, the New York Rangers selected Vitali Kravtsov from the KHL. Kravtsov is currently under contract with Traktor Chelyabinsk.

Kravtsov, playing as an underage player in the KHL, recorded seven points in 35 games but also went on to record 11 points in 16 playoff games.

The kid is a high-end skill player who stands at a height of 6-foot-4 and weighs 183 pounds. HJe checks off all of the standard Russian check marks with his blend of tantalizing skill, skating and ability. Some may call it a reach but taking out the Russian factor this is a top ten talent for sure.

Kravtsov may not have been the safest pick out there at nine but Rangers fans need to show some patience. Rebuilds don’t happen overnight. You can see what the Rangers are trying to build with players like Pavel Buchnevich, Yegor Rykov and hopefully the goalie of the future in Igor Shestyorkin.

Maybe they’re channeling the old Red Wing days in Detroit?

Kravtsov was named the KHL’s Rookie of the Year last season and again, became a serious force in the KHL playoffs. A slight reach, but this is a solid pick.

He has one more year on his current KHL deal, but does have the option to buy out of it. He has every intention of playing in North America so keep an eye out for 2019-2020 as a projected arrival date.

Kravtsov beat out Eeli Tolvanen for KHL’s rookie of the year with his strong playoff performance. Yes, Tolvanen was a monster in the regular season, but the playoff performance truly elevated him. Kravtsov has been compared to many—current Washington Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky is one of them.

Neal Purcell has a tremendous passion for New York Rangers hockey and the sport of hockey in general. A graduate of SUNY Cortland in Upstate NY, Purcell coaches both a high school hockey team and a travel team in the winter. Purcell is also a part of a small family business in the Central New York Region.