5 Potential Trade Destinations for New York Rangers Winger Vitali Kravtsov

Lyle Richardson@@SpectorsHockeyFeatured ColumnistOctober 19, 2021

5 Potential Trade Destinations for New York Rangers Winger Vitali Kravtsov

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    Selected ninth overall in the 2018 NHL draft, Vitali Kravtsov seemed destined for a bright future with the New York Rangers. Three years later, the 21-year-old right winger and the Blueshirts appear on the verge of parting ways. On Oct. 12, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported his agent received permission to speak with other clubs about a trade.

    The New York Post's Larry Brooks indicated Kravtsov refused to report to the Rangers' AHL affiliate in Hartford and could face a suspension. His colleague, Mollie Walker, pointed out the young winger began training camp among their top-nine forwards but was among their last round of cuts prior to their season-opener Wednesday against the Washington Capitals.

    Tensions had been brewing between Kravtsov and Rangers management for some time. Walker observed he had a contentious exit interview at the end of last season regarding concerns about his offseason training. He also felt he should've been among their top-six last season. On Sunday, she reported Kravtsov had returned home to Chelyabinsk, Russia.

    Projected to be a scoring forward, Kravtsov possesses promising offensive skills but had difficulty cracking the lineup. This situation raised concerns among New York hockey pundits like Brooks and The Athletic's Rick Carpiniello over the club's handling of this situation.

    Friedman believes there's a market for Kravtsov, claiming there's "definitely interest" in the young winger. TSN's Chris Johnston suggested the Rangers could get a second-round pick, citing the second-rounder (60th overall) in the 2020 Draft they received from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Lias Andersson, another once-promising first-rounder who struggled in New York.

    Here's our take on five teams that could be potential destinations for Vitali Kravtsov. You can weigh in with your thoughts on this topic in the comments section below.

Anaheim Ducks

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    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    Kravtsov could get plenty of NHL playing time with the Anaheim Ducks. They're amid a roster rebuild and should have room among their top-nine for a winger with offensive potential.

    Rickard Rakell, Troy Terry and Jakob Silfverberg are their current top three right wings. Rakell, 28, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He could be on the move by the March 21 trade deadline if still unsigned by then. Jones, 23, has yet to prove himself as a scoring winger. Silfverberg, 31, is signed through 2023-24 but his production slipped last season to a career-low 16 points in 47 games.

    The Ducks have their own second-round pick in the 2022 NHL draft to use as trade bait for Kravtsov. If that's not to the Rangers' liking they could offer up a young forward such as Max Jones or Sam Steel. Both are former 2016 first-round picks who've struggled to reach their potential. Like Kravtsov, they could benefit from a change of scenery.

Arizona Coyotes

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    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    Bill Armstrong wasted little time rebuilding the Arizona Coyotes roster during his first offseason as their general manager. His wheeling-and-dealing over the summer netted his club four extra second-round picks in the 2022 draft. One of those could be used as trade capital to land a young winger with potential such as Kravtsov.

    Phil Kessel, Ryan Dzingel and Clayton Keller are the Coyotes' current top three right wingers. Kessel, however, isn't expected to finish the season in Arizona. Recent rumors have the 34-year-old winger seeking a fresh start and a chance to earn a new contract before his current deal expires at the end of this season.

    The Coyotes will need a top-six right winger whenever they finally pull the trigger on a Kessel trade. Acquiring Kravtsov would give them a young, affordable potential replacement who could fit into Armstrong's long-term plans.

Detroit Red Wings

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Under general manager Steve Yzerman, the Detroit Red Wings have continued a patient rebuild begun by his predecessor, Ken Holland. They have a promising youngster in Lucas Raymond debuting as their first-line right wing this season. Perhaps Yzerman might be in the market for another winger with upside.

    Filip Zadina fills their second-line right-wing position. The 21-year-old was selected by the Wings three spots ahead of Kravtsov in the 2018 draft. He has potential as a scoring winger but has yet to fully blossom into that role.

    Kravtsov could be a good depth addition for the Wings. He has the potential to either challenge Raymond for the first-line role or supplant Zadina on the second line. The Wings also have an extra second-round pick in next year's draft that could be enticing to the Rangers.

Ottawa Senators

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    Peter Power/Associated Press

    The Ottawa Senators have also been rebuilding with youth over the past three seasons. General manager Pierre Dorion believes they're ready to move on. "The rebuild is done. Now we're stepping into another zone," he said during his Sept. 7 press conference.

    Kravtsov could thrive on a team loaded with talented young forwards. Drake Batherson is filling the first-line right-wing spot while Connor Brown holds the second-line role. Adding the 23-year-old Ranger, however, could bring an extra measure of pure offense on the second line. That could allow them to spread their offense around by moving Brown to the third line.

    Holding an extra second-round pick received in a trade last December with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Senators could use it as a trade chip for Kravtsov. They could also dangle one of their three third-rounders.

Seattle Kraken

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    The Seattle Kraken possess one proven scoring right winger in Jordan Eberle and not much else on their other lines. What they don't have are promising young forwards with offensive potential. This could be a good opportunity to land one in Kravtsov.

    Kole Lind is listed as their second-line right wing. A former 2017 second-round pick of the Vancouver Canucks, the 23-year-old has just seven games of NHL experience before being selected by the Kraken in their expansion draft. He's struggled to replicate the offensive production from his junior hockey days at the professional level.

    Kravtsov could get plenty of playing time in Seattle to prove himself as a top-six winger and perhaps become the franchise's first breakout star. They have only one pick in the second round of the 2022 draft, but an extra one in the 2023 draft. Still, Kravtsov might be worth parting with next year's second-rounder.

    Line combinations (as of Oct. 18, 2021) via Daily Faceoff. Draft pick info via Puck Pedia. Salary info via Cap Friendly

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