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Blueshirt Banter 2018 NHL Draft Rankings - #14 Vitali Kravtsov

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2017 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
Could Rangers’ Head European Scout Nikolai Bobrov draft his first Russian player since joining the organization in 2015?
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Vitali Kravtsov, Chelyabinsk Traktor (KHL)

Vitals

Position: Right Wing

Age on Draft Day: 18.51 years old

Height/Weight: 6’2, 170 pounds

2017-2018 Stats (Including Playoffs): 51 GP, 10 G, 8 A, 13 PIM, +2

Other Rankings

NHL Central Scouting: 3rd (European Skaters)

Bob McKenzie (TSN): 15th

ISS Hockey: (Not top-31)

Scott Wheeler (The Athletic): 15th

Future Considerations: 28th

Jeremy Davis (Canucks Army): 20th

HockeyProspect.com (March): 24th

Scouting Report

I have not seen Kravtsov play. However, our European consultants Alex and Tobias both have. I suggest following them on Twitter. Here are their breakdowns of Vitali Kravtsov, with some light editing for formatting purposes.

Alex

Russian winger Kravtsov uses size, soft hands and strong wheels to contribute offense in a variety of ways.

He’s a difficult guy to handle in transition, capable of aggressively dangling opposing defensemen one-on-one or setting-up team-mates at speed. Although perhaps not the most dynamic on his skates, Kravtsov gets around the ice well and certainly has no trouble finding openings to exploit. He knows how to score and buries chances with a quick-release wrister.

Kravtsov’s ability to read developing plays means he can often be found parked-up in dangerous shooting spots around the net. He hunts down second-chance efforts and uses his solid frame to battle defensemen for loose pucks, patiently waiting-out opposing goalies when necessary.

Defensively Kravtsov is mostly responsible with his stick and does a solid job in his own end. It’s an area he will need to continue working on, though.

It’s important to consider context when looking at Kravtsov’s draft year given his stock exploded with a record-breaking playoff performance for Traktor. Kravtsov skated over four minutes more per-game during the post-season than he had previously; he saw occasional top-unit powerplay time and settled in as a consistent top-six scoring threat, much removed from the third-line checking role he’d been used in before.

Tobias

Vitali Kravtsov is the prototypical Russian off-side power winger. He’s a strong skater who can both challenge D-men on the outside and slow the game down if needed. He’s got an excellent shot and his puck handling is very good. He’s definitely more of a sniper then a playmaker. Kravtsov is a good defensive player given his age and role, he’s far from the “lazy Russian.” He works hard defensively and he’s not inept at it.

Kravtsov had a solid regular season where he had 4 goals and 3 assists in 35 games, then he exploded in the playoffs with 6 goals and 5 assists in 16 games. A spike like this could be worrying because it could just be a small sample fluke.

I’m not worried, though, because I think his spike was driven by an increase in time-on-ice and better linemates. Kravtsov was playing down the lineup most of the regular season, getting limited ice time (9:19 TOI/GP). He was still a pretty solid producer given that ice time. His shot generation was solid (1 SOG/GP which means over 6 SOG per 60 minutes) and 4+3 is definitely okay for a pre-draft player in the second-best league in the world. In the playoffs he got bumped up the lineup into a top 6 role playing with some really talented players and his production exploded. His average icetime went up about four minutes and his shot generation went up to 2.3 SOG/GP. He was always very good and his production didn’t come out of nowhere.

What Others Have Said

Elite Prospects

“Kravtsov has the potential to develop into a staple top six forward that can produce at the next level.”

Central Scouting European Director Goran Stubb:

“Kravtsov Matured and improved a lot over the season and was extremely strong in the KHL playoffs. He is a power forward who plays an aggressive, no-quit style of hockey.”

To read the rest of our 2018 NHL Draft Profiles, click this link.