New York Rangers Vitali Kravtsov
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The three-month downward spiral of New York Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov hit rock bottom on Sunday with a demotion to the VHL.

Frank Curto

The scenery and expectations have changed dramatically for New York Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov.

As September arrived, he was in training camp, but then his hockey universe exploded all around him. He was sent to the AHL prior to opening day, then he invoked his European clause and returned to the KHL.

Sunday morning it was reported that he was demoted to the VHL, a lower level of Russian hockey.

The tweet from Kravtsov’s KHL team also indicated that the Russian forward had only played one shift in the last two games for the club. This is a significant move and will surely damage the already damaged confidence of the Rangers’ 2018 first-round pick.

If there was any doubt about how serious a demotion this is, Stephen Valiquette of MSG likened it to “playing hockey on the moon.” Yeah, that doesn’t sound good at all for the 19-year-old winger.


Kravtsov had two goals with thee points in 11 games with Traktor.

This is not how the 19-year-old anticipated his year would unfold. He won’t be allowed to leave the VHL to return to the Rangers organization until the conclusion of this season.

He will have to dig in now to find his way back to New York City. While the Rangers certainly don’t want to see a top prospect’s development stall, it’s important to remember that Kravtsov is only 19. He has plenty of time to develop into the player the Rangers hope he can be.

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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