Things have gone sour between the New York Rangers and Vitali Kravtsov. Unhappy with his role with the club, the 21-year-old Russian winger recently returned home to await a trade.
Varying reasons have been reported for Kravtsov's decision. The Athletic's Arthur Staple indicated sources claimed the 2018 first-round pick clashed with Rangers general manager Chris Drury since 2019 when they were with the Blueshirts' AHL affiliate in Hartford. Meanwhile, the New York Post's Larry Brooks cited a source saying Kravtsov's decision was based on his belief he wouldn't crack the Ranger lineup given their depth among their top-six forwards
That depth, however, is being tested with Ryan Strome at home in the NHL's COVID-19 protocol while Kaapo Kakko remains sidelined by a shoulder injury. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported Rangers coach Gerard Gallant reached out to Kravtsov hoping to convince him to return but the youngster's mind is made up.
Friedman said there are teams interested in Kravtsov but the Rangers set a high asking price for the promising winger. TSN's Chris Johnston last week suggested it could be a second-round pick, citing the return they received from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for 2017 first-rounder Lias Andersson,
Sportsnet 590's Nick Kypreos tweeted that up to 15 teams inquired about Kravtsov, including the Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators. However, Brooks claimed the interest was lukewarm while Staple reported it was more about getting an understanding of the situation than about the asking price.
Despite the inquiries it doesn't seem like Kravtsov will be moved anytime soon. Unless one of those clubs makes a serious pitch, he could be cooling his heels in Russia for a while.