2018 NHL draft profile: Vitali Kravtsov, a prospect with KHL history


In the weeks leading up to the 2018 NHL draft, we're providing prospect profiles and how those players would fit with the Flyers, who have two first-round picks — Nos. 14 and 19.

The NHL draft takes place June 22-23 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The Flyers have nine picks with two in the first, fifth and seventh rounds and one in the second, fourth and sixth. They do not own a third-rounder as it went to the Detroit Red Wings for Petr Mrazek. The 14th pick conveyed from the Brayden Schenn trade. The final details were Schenn to the St. Louis Blues for Jori Lehtera, a 2017 first-round pick (Morgan Frost) and the 14th pick.

Our prospect profiles will touch mostly on prospects projected to go in the 10-20 range but some may require the Flyers having to trade up to select. We’ll identify those prospects.

Vitali Kravtsov

Position: Right winger
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 184
Shoots: Left
Team: Traktor Chelyabinsk (KHL)

Scouting report
Kravtsov made history at the age of 17 as the youngest player to ever score a goal in the Gagarin Cup, the KHL’s version of the Stanley Cup Final. He jumped up the charts on the international scouting scene, scoring 11 points in 16 games during the KHL playoffs.

Because of his late 1999 birthday, Kravtsov did not play in the most recent World Junior Championships for Team Russia.

Playing his off wing, Kravtsov has a very impressive set of hands. He can shoot in tight spaces and with a lightning quick release. Kravtsov comes with a strong hockey IQ and can work his way into the soft spots in the defense. Reads plays and situations well. 

Kravtsov doesn’t have high-end speed but still possesses good skating ability for a player of his size and appears to find that extra gear when he senses an offensive opportunity. While he has the potential to be an NHL scorer, he doesn’t have the game right now to be a complete two-way player required of today’s NHL player. He didn’t show much grit and tenaciousness on the defensive side of the puck and doesn’t seem to want to be the aggressor physically. 

If Kravtsov is selected in the first round, I believe it will take some time before he’s polished enough to make the NHL jump, but he does have the skill set to adapt his game to the North American rink. 

Fit with Flyers
Right now, I don’t see Kravtsov too high on the Flyers' radar. He’s not worthy of one of their two first-round picks unless the Flyers trade back between picks 22-30, or if Kravtsov somehow falls into the second round, it may be worth taking a serious look.

It would be interesting to see if Kravtsov is purely a right winger or if he’s versatile enough to move over and play the left side as well. He has the makeup to be a power-play sniper. The Flyers could boost their farm system with some high-end talented wingers and certainly, Kravtsov fits that description.

Kravtsov could have been a top-15 selection had he made the jump to the CHL like fellow Russian Andrei Svechnikov, who played for the Barrie Colts this past season.

I see a number of comparisons with Capitals star center Evgeny Kuznetsov, considering they both played for the same KHL team and Kuznetsov was also drafted late in the first round. However, Kuznetsov and Kravtsov play a different style and so much of that is contingent on how they develop over the next three to four years from the day they’re drafted.

More on the 2018 NHL draft

• Flyers could draft another bona-fide center

• Flyers should eye this shoot-first LW

History of the 14th overall pick

History of the 19th overall pick

Contact Us