Vitali Kravtsov was loaned to Traktor of the Kontinental Hockey League by the New York Rangers on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old forward, the No. 9 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, is not eligible to return to the Rangers and play in either the NHL or for Hartford of the American Hockey League until after the KHL season is complete.
The Rangers said they have spoken to Kravtsov and he is open to the idea of returning to North America and play for the organization when eligible to do so.
“After discussions with Vitali and his representation, we decided a loan to Traktor was in the best interests of both him and the organization,” Rangers president and general manager Chris Drury said. “We think very highly of Vitali and the Rangers development staff will continue to work with him to reach our mutual goal of him some day being a New York Ranger.”
Kravtsov did not make the Rangers final roster out of training camp and was supposed to report to Hartford. He instead returned home to Russia after the season began.
“I want to thank the Rangers for working with me and appreciate the open and honest conversations we have had during this process,” Kravtsov said. “While this has been a challenging time for me personally, I believe having the opportunity to return to Traktor and work on my game is the best thing for me right now. My main focus is getting better every day to continue toward my goal of playing hockey for the New York Rangers.”
Kravtsov scored four points (two goals, two assists) in 20 games for the Rangers last season. He played 39 games for Hartford in 2019-20, scoring 15 points (six goals, nine assists).
Kravtsov has also played five seasons with Traktor, scoring 55 points (30 goals, 25 assists) in 148 games.