Rangers may trade Vitaly Kravtsov with rising tensions over demotion

WASHINGTON, DC – Vitaly Kravtsov has been in limbo with Rangers before opening night, after past tensions boiled over to AHL Hartford with the 21-year-old designation.

The Rangers’ ninth-overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft has refused assignment to the Wolf Pack and is expected to be suspended, according to The Post. Larry Brooks reported on Tuesday. Kravtsov was given permission by the club to contact other NHL teams to facilitate a trade, Sportsnet’s Elliot Friedman first reported.

Kravtsov, who began training skating camp in the top nine, was involved in the final round of the Rangers’ cut in his season-opening stint with the Capitals in Washington on Wednesday.

At the end of last season, Kravtsov had a controversial exit-meeting with Rangers management. Much of the tense discussion came to naught on the way to Number 74 trains in the off-season, which left Kravtsov wondering if he was going to do business. Kravtsov decided to sack his agent, Paul Theophanes, and hired new representation in Dan Milstein amid issues with the Rangers brass.

Vitaly Kravtsov warms up before a presidential game against the Devils
Vitaly Kravtsov warms up before a presidential game against the Devils
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Additionally, Kravtsov believed he should have been in the top six when he was first recalled to Rangers last season. Kravtsov bounced around the lineup in 20 games he played in 2020-21, including a long stretch on the fourth line.

Kravtsov skated on the third row next to Filip Chittil and Barkley Gudrow for a large part of this preseason, but the Russian winger sustained an undisclosed lower body injury in the third exhibition game against the Devils earlier this month. After missing the next two games, Kravtsov scored a power-play goal in his return to the lineup in Rangers’ preseason finals against the Islanders.

With a handful of players required to be waived, Rangers apparently wanted to avoid losing any assets for nothing and opted to cut out Kravtsov and Morgan Barone, who were both assigned to the team’s minor. No need to go on a waiver for – League Associates. However, head coach Gerard Gallant voiced that Kravtsov had been beaten for a roster spot, meaning that it was not entirely what caused the players to go on a waiver.

“There was no reason, it was about choosing your team with which you’re going, trying to win the hockey game,” Gallant said before the team’s trip to Washington, DC. “We said that all the training camp for those places was a fight for a long time and others played well, some who remained, [Julien] Gauthier and [Dryden] Hunt and those people. He played really well in the camp and he achieved that position.

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