When the Rangers formally begin coaching camp subsequent Thursday, one notable participant is anticipated to be lacking and one almost-forgotten participant will return to the scene.
President and normal supervisor Chris Drury continues to be unsure concerning the state of affairs relating to 22-year-old defenseman Nils Lundkvist, who The Post’s Larry Brooks reported doesn’t intend to return to coaching camp and is hoping to discover a top-four function with one other NHL membership by way of commerce.
“I do not actually have any replace on it,” Drury stated Thursday on the MSG Training Center in Tarrytown. “Obviously, we expect he is an actual good participant. We drafted him. We’ve labored with him the final variety of years. … We definitely hope he is right here subsequent week. … I haven’t got a definitive reply as to what his plans are proper now.”
Lundkvist’s 25-game cameo with the Rangers final season didn’t reside as much as the hype surrounding the 2021 Salming Trophy winner — awarded yearly to one of the best Swedish-born defenseman. It was the right-handed defenseman’s first season in North America and the adjustment interval was longer than anticipated. After posting only one purpose and three assists, Lundkvist was shortly leapfrogged by Braden Schneider.
The expectation is that Lundkvist, who the Rangers drafted twenty eighth general in 2018, might be traded, however Drury wouldn’t affirm whether or not he has formally requested out.
On the opposite hand, Vitali Kravtsov seemingly has a clear slate coming into coaching camp after the Russian winger refused an AHL project final season and fled dwelling. What as soon as was considered as an irreparable relationship is now trying like a mutually helpful state of affairs for either side. The Rangers want Kravtsov, his $875,000 cap hit and offensive upside, whereas Kravtsov must show he’s an NHL-caliber winger on a playoff-contending crew just like the Rangers.
“I feel he is on an ideal observe,” Drury stated of Kravtsov, who scored seven targets and dished three assists in 15 playoff video games for the Kontinental Hockey League’s Chelyabinsk Traktor. “He selected voluntarily to return right here very early in the summertime. … So that was clearly an ideal signal that he selected to do this. Come right here, he is had an ideal summer season coaching, skating. He appears good. We’re excited to see what he has. “Just from what we have seen to this point, peeking out my window at practices, he appears actually good and we’re excited he is right here.”
Kravtsov, drafted by the Rangers with the No. 9-overall choose in 2018, will definitely be competing in opposition to fellow children Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko for the spots on the wings within the high 9. Considering Lafreniere has frolicked on the highest unit and Kakko has gotten conversant in the appropriate wing of the second line, Kravtsov may fall to the third line relying on how the camp unfolds.
“No, by no means,” Drury stated when requested if Kravtsov had two strikes in opposition to him. “Once we loaned him and acquired him to the KHL final 12 months, there was by no means any subject. Certainly excited with how he went over there and performed. … We’re proud of the best way he performed, the best way he dealt with himself over there.
“He’s completed the whole lot proper by coming right here early. And I’m excited to see what he has when issues begin.”