Vitali Kravtsov has been quietly flying under the radar, but New York Rangers fans should take note of this top prospect.
There’s been a lot of noise about the New York Rangers during the Traverse City Tournament. After stumbling out of the gate, the Blueshirts finished the tournament 3-1, winning their final three games. The biggest news came from two of the team’s biggest, and youngest, acquisitions this offseason.
It all started with Adam Fox. In the Blueshirts second game against the Dallas Stars on Friday, Sept. 7, Fox was a man on fire. With two goals and three assists, Fox led the Rangers to a 7-4 victory against Dallas. Things only got better in the next game.
On Monday, Sept. 9, the Rangers prized second overall pick Kaapo Kakko made his team debut after missing the first two games with an illness. As we all know, Kakko burst onto the scene with four points in the game. He registered three assists and the game-winning goal in overtime to seal the Rangers’ 4-3 victory against the Minnesota Wild. Every Rangers fan is itching for the season to finally arrive.
Fox and Kakko are receiving tons of attention for their big games in Traverse City, and for good reason. But even Ranger fans are sleeping on another one of their team’s best prospects—Vitali Kravtsov.
Thanks to Kakko’s performance, we have forgotten that Kravtsov had a stellar performance in that game as well. With the Rangers down by two, Kravtsov scored two goals to tie the game in the third period. This helped set the stage for Kakko to cap off his solid performance with an overtime winner.
In the game Fox went off, Kravtsov notched an assist on a goal that gave the Blueshirts a little extra insurance, putting the Rangers up by two late in the game. So it goes without saying, the Rangers first-round pick from 2018 has also been pretty impressive so far.
Kravtsov finished the Traverse City Tournament with three points in the last two games. Sure, it doesn’t stand out quite like Fox’s five points against the Stars or Kakko’s four points against the Wild, but it’s still worthy production to take note of.
To make the production all the more impressive, Kravtsov’s points came in key moments late in games. Kravtsov’s two goals against the Wild erased a two-goal deficit in the third, and his assist against Dallas gave the Rangers a bigger cushion late in the game. Whether it’s erasing a deficit or adding some extra insurance, Kravtsov is clutch.
This would not be the first time the 19-year-old Russian flew under the radar. Thanks to other acquisitions like Artemi Panarin and Jacob Trouba, Kravtsov’s arrival is not being met with as much attention as his fellow teammates. However, from then and up to this point, Kravtsov has been developing right under our noses.
Kravtsov is flying under the radar in New York and with the media. If he does earn a spot on the Ranger roster opening night, he can certainly turn some heads. If he does continue this production in the regular season, it’s going to make everyone wish they kept an eye on him the whole time.