Vitali Kravtsov departs Vancouver Canucks and signs in KHL
(Photo Credit: @CanucksArmy)

In a surprising turn of events, Vancouver Canucks forward Vitali Kravtsov has signed a two-year contract with Traktor Chelyabinsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). The 23-year-old Russian winger, who was drafted ninth overall by the New York Rangers in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, had a disappointing performance in the NHL with both the Rangers and the Canucks.

Kravtsov’s time in the NHL was marked by inconsistency and underperformance. In the 2022-23 season, he played 39 games and scored only 3 goals and 4 assists. After being traded to the Canucks in February 2023, he managed to score just one goal and one assist in 16 games. His average ice time was 10:50, with a plus/minus of minus-3.

Despite his struggles in the NHL, Kravtsov’s return to the KHL could be a positive move for his career. Prior to joining the NHL, he had an impressive record with Traktor Chelyabinsk, which helped him become a first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. The familiarity of playing in his home country and with his former team may provide the boost he needs to regain his form.

While Kravtsov’s departure is a loss for the Canucks, the team still retains his NHL rights. This means that if he decides to return to the NHL in the future, the Canucks will have the first opportunity to sign him.

As for the Canucks’ offseason, the team faces a challenging task of building a competitive roster for the 2023-24 season. With a rumored extra $3-4 million in cap space, the organization will need to make strategic moves to improve their chances of making the playoffs and ultimately competing for the Stanley Cup. The departure of Kravtsov may provide an opportunity for the Canucks to explore other options and invest in new talent to bolster their lineup.

Overall, Vitali Kravtsov’s decision to leave the Canucks and sign with the KHL’s Traktor Chelyabinsk marks a significant shift in his career. While his performance in the NHL was disappointing, a return to his home country and former team may be the catalyst he needs to rediscover his potential. As for the Canucks, the offseason presents an opportunity to reevaluate their roster and make the necessary moves to become a contender in the upcoming season.