New York Rangers, Vitali Kravtsov
AP Photo

Promising New York Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov is returning to North America after a disastrous return to his native Russia.

On Thursday, New York Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov thanked Traktor fans (via Instagram) for their support.

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Хотелось бы сказать болельщикам, спасибо большое , за то что поддерживали и переживали в такой не простой период !! Поблагодарить тренерский штаб , руководство , командный персонал , и конечно же игроков , с кем приятно было играть в одной команде и видеться в раздевалке , так сложилась ситуация , поэтому желаю команде больших побед и без травм , а болельщикам терпения и веры в команду , спасибо Челябинск , за чёрной полосой всегда идёт белая🚜

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Wait, what? Support? Thanks? That could only mean one thing…

The kid is returning to North America.

Towards the end of October, it became clear Kravtsov was not happy with the Rangers’ AHL affiliate Hartford, so he exercised his out clause, allowing him to return to the KHL.

During his brief time in Hartford, Kravtsov had one assist and found himself on the bench frequently.

Rangers fans initially panicked at the move, but the dust settled when everyone was reminded that the Rangers could call him back whenever they saw fit.

Kravtsov’s six weeks with Traktor were surprisingly bad. In 11 games, he had a total of three points, coming in the form of two goals and an assist. Most recently, he was scratched from multiple games.

His play was so poor that he was demoted to the VHL, where he played three games and had two assists.

Once his demotion broke the news, it became more likely (and sensible) that the Rangers would recall him.

If he was not going to be an impactful player in Russia, what would be the point of keeping him there when he could be developing in Hartford?

This is definitely the right move for both Kravtsov and the Rangers, and makes it more likely that he could be called up at some point this season.

Kravtsov is returning to Hartford at the perfect time, as he will be reunited with another promising Rangers youngster who is hoping to find his footing, Lias Andersson.

Andersson was barely seeing any ice time this season with the Rangers while playing on a talentless fourth line. They’ll now have an opportunity to see Andersson and Kravtsov on the top line in Hartford. The two will likely become linemates and now have a chance to show how dynamic they can be.

Both kids possess extremely high ceilings and if they meet or exceed expectations in the AHL, Rangers fans may see both of them in the NHL by the All-Star Break.

The positive impact these two can ideally have on the Rangers is game-changing and can help the team improve much quicker.

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