It’s official. Vitali Kravtsov’s saga in New York has finally come to a conclusion. Chris Drury traded the want-away Russian winger to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a 2026 7th-round pick and AHL forward William Lockwood. We will get into why this has happened but I think everyone can do the back-of-the-napkin math here. New York is trying to clear enough room to open the position for Patrick Kane.
Kravtsov had asked for a trade a long time ago sighting his lack of opportunities when pushed up the lineup. With the Russian wanting more top-six time and the Rangers needing some room to make space for other deadline adds, it made sense to ship out Kravtsov as soon as they could in an effort to continue to accrue cap space. This leads to some excitement building in New York, but we will get to that.
William Lockwood is an energy forward if he comes up but is likely to report straight to AHL Hartford. For the former 3rd round pick of the Canucks measuring 5’11, 170 lbs, there have been long-standing concerns about his size but he doesn’t have the scoring ability to break into a major role on a contending team at this moment. We’ll see what becomes of this in the future, but for now, it looks like a pure cap move by the Rangers.
So, what does this mean for the Blueshirts? Well, this added with the waiving of Jake Leschyshyn means that the Rangers will have just enough cap space to squeak Patrick Kane onto the roster at the trade deadline. This is not ideal because it would force the Blueshirts to cope with just the 12 forwards in the meantime and an injury could shatter this plan entirely, but you can see what the Rangers are trying to do with these moves.