New York Rangers, Vitali Kravtsov
Courtesy @NYRangers

New York Rangers first-round pick Vitali Kravtsov and his Traktor team are heading to the playoffs in the KHL.

Frank Curto

New York Rangers fans will have to wait a little longer to see Vitali Kravtsov play in North America. The first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft is heading to the KHL playoffs.

Kravtsov’s team, Traktor Chelyabinsk, clinched the final playoff spot without playing a game. Sibir Novosibirsk lost their game On Wednesday to Avtomobilist allowing Traktor to clinch the eighth spot in the KHL Eastern Conference.

This will be Kravtsov’s second time appearing in the KHL playoffs. Last season the Rangers prospect recorded 11 points in 16 games as Traktor lost to AK Bars in the conference finals.

Traktor will face Avtomobilist in the first round of the playoffs, which begins next week.

Kravtsov has two regular season games remaining, on Wednesday they play against Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod and the final game of the regular season will be against SKA Saint Petersburg and fellow Ranger prospect goaltender Igor Shestyorkin.

Kravtsov making the playoffs actually help the Rangers contract wise. Had he been eliminated from the playoffs, there was a good chance that he might have come over to North America now and possibly see some games in Hartford.

The scenario now changes as Kravtsov wouldn’t be available to come over till mid-March.

His contract as a whole is another consideration. The Seattle expansion rules would benefit Kravtsov not signing any contract until July 1 or later.

If the Rangers were to sign him pre July 1, they would have to protect him in the NHL Expansion Draft. Should the organization wait until after July 1 he would be exempt for that draft per the NHL Expansion Draft rules.

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A graduate of St. John's University class of '91. I have been a fan of the New York Rangers since the days of Peter Puck. Founder of Ranger Proud, the Facebook page that covers all news, notes, pre /post-game stats, and player quotes. I can be reached at