NHL Trade Numbers: Canucks gain advantage and skill in Vitali Kravtsov

The trade

Getting canucks: Striker Vitali Kravtsov

Getting Rangers: Striker William Lockwood, seventh round choice of 2026

Shayna Goldman: A trade was made for the Rangers today, but not the one everyone expected. Vitali Kravtsov has been in the trading bloc for a while now. When he wasn’t flipped last summer, as most expected, it looked like he might have a shot at the NHL level this season. That didn’t quite happen – whether the coaches weren’t happy with his play, or thought it was better to let him sit than play him on the fourth line where he wasn’t fit. Either way, it sunk whatever little trade value he had left. Therefore, New York got very little in return for him.

Holding him and waiting for a better deal wasn’t really an option, given that the Rangers need every bit of space they can get – especially if they want a smashing trade. Plus, there weren’t exactly options that would bring back anything more substantial. So the fact that New York got what they needed, some space, is a small victory. The problem is that this situation was as bad as it has been in recent years, and teams that want a long-lasting battle need to develop their young talent. The Rangers have fallen short on quite a few of their high picks, and this has been particularly disastrous.

From the Canucks’ perspective, they bring back a young winger with skill and advantage. There’s an opportunity for cheap talent here, if the coaching staff can maximize their play at the NHL level – and that’s a big if. The only risk is that Kravtsov could return to the KHL, but it’s a risk worth taking given the few resources they’ve given up to make it happen.

Canucks Quality: B+
Rangers grade: D

Corey Pronman: Vitali Kravtsov was the Rangers’ ninth overall pick in 2018. He was picked as high as a 6-foot-3/6-foot-4 winger with a very high skill level and a bet on his offensive potential. He has since shown some success at the KHL level, with the skill and offensive sense that drew the Rangers to him. But his skating and competition level were both cause for concern for the NHL and ultimately limited his impact in North America. His inconsistent play put him on the Rangers roster bubble.

I like Kravtsov, he’s a good hockey player, but he’s not a needle mover without significant improvements in his consistency. Maybe in a team without as much offensive talent as New York, he’ll get some more chances, shine and give another chance in North America. However, the Canucks score faster than the Rangers, so I don’t know if that’s the right match.

The bet Vancouver made is limited. Lockwood is a great player but more of an organizational low point. He has good skill and works very hard, but he is an undersized winger who is not a great skater or playmaker.

Clearly, this move is about more than just Kravtsov. It’s about what everyone in the hockey world assumes is an upcoming Patrick Kane trade and clears space for it. But it closes the chapter on New York’s Kravtsov and the second of back-to-back top 10 picks in 2017 and 2018 by the Rangers – the other being Lias Andersson – that didn’t work in their favor. Kravtsov didn’t have much trading value and hasn’t been in the league for a while, but he was once thought of highly, and asset value deteriorated. Even with the addition of Kane, Rangers fans can’t be happy that this is the result of a recent ninth overall pick.

Canucks Quality: A-
Rangers grade: C+

(Photo by Vitali Kravtsov: David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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