Vitali Kravtsov, in an interview with Sport Express in Russia, seems resigned as to his future status with the Rangers. In a wide-ranging conversation, the first part focused on the Blueshirts, Kravtsov most certainly does not come across as a player rushing to come back to North America to join the team that drafted him, though nuance of language might be lost in translation and tone is not 1005 cleat. Add this reaction to how last year transpired and concerns as to his future with the team has to be warranted.
David Shapiro from Blue Seat Blogs posted the following two tweets, which contains a link to the full interview and the Rangers' excerpts:
This is the piece that concerns me the most:
“But you see how many young people are in the Rangers.
- And not only young people. Count how many players are in my position. There are plenty to choose from. There are no places on paper.
Up front on the wing are: Artemi Panarin, Alexis Lafreniere, Chris Kreider, Pavel Buchnevich and Kappo Kakko. Julien Gauthier is penciled in as the third line right winger with Filip Chytil as the third line center, presuming he stays at that position. Right now, New York has three solid left wingers, presuming the Breadman or laf are not moved to the other side. Buch has one year left on his current deal while Kakko needs to show that the gains he made during the break continues forward, so nothing is set in stone.
This is what I wrote when Kravtsov went home
last October. He settled in nicely back in the KHL and appeared to show he belonged when he was part of the taxi squad during the play-in round. That growth continued into the early part of Traktor's season, which we hope plays out similarly the rest of the season, though his production has tailed off dramatically, impacted partially by Traktor's defensive style of play, as noted in the interview.
But the concerns I raised last year when Kravtsov went home are worth mentioning again. "You could argue that David Quinn didn’t do a good job of teaching or preparing Kravtsov, resulting in the demotion." Kravtsov needed to mature but Quinn, the coaching staff and management needed to do a better job of helping Kravtsov get comfortable here in the US, especially after seeing what happened with Lias Andersson. If they lose Kravtsov after what has to be viewed as a mistake in taking and dealing with Andersson, that's a black mark on the entire organization.
The flip side of this is if Kravtsov truly believed in his ability, he would be pushing to come over. If he played well, then the third line right wing spot would be his and he could force management's decision on Buchnevich in terms of retaining him long term. But if Kravtsov opts to remain home or push for a trade elsewhere - hopefully anywhere but Pittsburgh, seeing how well the Alex Kovalev trade panned out - then the likelihood of Buch getting extended grows exponentially.