DALLAS, TX - JUNE 22: Vitali Kravtsov pose after being selected ninth overall by the New York Rangers during the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 22, 2018 in Dallas, Texas.
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

New York Rangers forward Vitali Kravtsov is back in New York and ready to compete for a spot on the team’s playoff roster.

Vince Mercogliano of USA Today is reporting that New York Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov has rejoined the team with hopes of competing for a spot on the playoff roster.

The NHL’s Return To Play plan is currently in Phase 2 with Phase 3 just a few weeks away. As part of RTP, teams that will be participating are permitted to carry up to 28 players on their rosters. For the Rangers, Kravtsov could be a viable option.

The 20-year-old left winger’s journey since being drafted has been strange and even messy, at times. Kravtsov was taken by the Rangers with the ninth pick in the 2018 draft. He signed with the organization a year later.

Kravtsov didn’t make the team out of training camp and was assigned to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack. He played just five games (recording one assist) with Hartford before electing to return to Russia to further his development.

He rejoined his old KHL team, Traktor Chelyabinsk, with whom he struggled, recording three points in 11 games. His play was so subpar that he was demoted to the team’s VHL affiliate, Chelmet.

In December, he was re-assigned to Hartford. In total, Kravtsov ended up recording 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 39 games with Hartford.

Kravtsov’s decision to return to Russia instead of developing in Hartford rubbed some fans the wrong way. Hockey-wise Kravtsov’s year didn’t go well and he definitely failed to meet expectations. However, he now has the opportunity to put all that behind him.

If he does well enough in training camp, he could end up following in the footsteps of fellow Rangers’ left winger Chris Kreider, who made his NHL debut in 2012 during the playoffs, as well.

The fact that the Rangers currently don’t have much forward depth helps Kravtsov’s case.

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