Carolina Hurricanes: Exploring a trade for Vitali Kravtsov

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK – APRIL 11: Vitali Kravtsov #74 of the New York Rangers skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum on April 11, 2021, in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Rangers 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Carolina has named their 23 man roster for the season ahead of Thursday night’s game with the New York Islanders. But could there be a change before then? According to Elliotte Friedman, the New York Rangers have given one of their highly touted youngsters Vitali Kravtsov, permission to speak to other teams in search of finding a new home.

it’s no secret that Raleigh has long been the home of some reclamation projects. Even this season, we’ve seen some players come in who are looking to rebuild their careers on the back of events that were not so well-liked in their old market. With that in mind, let’s look at this. Even if nothing comes of it, could the Hurricanes trade for Kravtsov?

A former 9th overall pick, Kravtsov was a young star in the Kontinental Hockey League for many years. Making his KHL debut when he was just 16, he recorded 30 goals and 25 assists for 55 points in 4 years with the team. This might not seem like incredible totals, but remember he was still a kid and he bounced around leagues in Russia for a while. However, it was his final season in Russia that caught the eye of the NHL.

In the 2020-21 KHL season, Kravtsov recorded 16 goals and 8 assists for 24 points in 42 games. That’s from a 20-year-old who’s trying to make an impact on the team to impress his NHL team. It could have been a lot worse for the young Russian forward before he moved across. Unfortunately, Kravtsov moved across when the world had shut down and never really got to make the impact he would have wanted with the Rangers.

In the NHL, Kravtsov has 20 games under his belt and they were all last season. In those 20 games, he would tally just 2 goals and 2 helped for 4 total points. That’s not what the Rangers would have expected from a former 9th overall pick. His upside just has not been met with the same explosive star power the Rangers were hoping for.

If Kravtsov has been given permission to seek a trade, Carolina should be looking to acquire this player. He’s only 22 and a change of scenery and a new system could very much help this player to reach the expectations that were set for him when he was drafted. It could also be more beneficial for the player to be in a more stable situation in terms of the calibre of players he’s with. Carolina’s prospect pool is annually one of the best.

If you can get Kravtsov in a swap for someone who’s struggled to make an impact on the Canes roster, then this could be worthwhile for a long time for the Hurricanes. Kravtsov has shown that he’s got the awareness and the know-how to make the big leagues, but he has had some struggled trying to put it all together. If he can do that, he will for sure be a great player in this league.