Rangers want top prospect for Vitali Kravtsov after he refused AHL assignment

On this edition of 32 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discuss whether the NHL will scale back on COVID-19 testing, what the Rangers want for Vitali Kravtsov, an update in the Jack Eichel situation, and more.

If he’s not going to come back to suit up with them, the New York Rangers are asking for a top prospect in exchange for Vitali Kravtsov.

“He’s in Russia right now, awaiting a trade, refusing assignment to AHL Hartford, so I called around to find out what general manager Chris Drury could be looking for in a trade for this player, and what I got back was a top prospect,” Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek said during the 32 Thoughts segment on Hockey Night in Canada.

“And he is not budging from that right now.”

Sources told Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman earlier this week that Rangers’ coach Gerard Gallant called Kravtsov to ask the forward to consider returning. Kravtsov is skating and getting ready to return, but several teams say they’ve been told he wants to play in the NHL, not stay overseas.

Getting him to come back to New York will take some serious convincing. He wants a fresh start. New York is asking a high price for the first-rounder, but there’s legitimate interest.

Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people around the hockey world, and then they tell listeners all about what they’ve heard and what they think about it.

On Oct. 12, when he failed to make the opening-night roster, Kravtsov received permission from the Rangers to contact other clubs in hopes of a trade.

Kravtsov had two goals and two assists in 20 games with the Rangers in 2020-21, his first NHL season.

The Russian was picked ninth overall by the Rangers in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Another name from the 2018 draft that came up during Marek’s calls around the league was that of fifth-overall pick Barrett Hayton of the Arizona Coyotes who’s playing with Tucson of the American Hockey League.

Reports had surfaced that Hayton had asked for a trade, but those were shot down by agent Pat Morris.

“Here’s his situation,” Marek said on 32 Thoughts. “The Arizona Coyotes have not raised his name in any trade discussions, but in a lot of their trade discussions that we know of, Arizona is in the picks and prospects business. Right now, his name is coming up more and more, but we know Jakob Chychrun is going to stay, but everybody else we wonder about. But Barrett Hayton – André Tourigny, the Coyotes head coach, loves him, made him captain at the World Juniors in 2020, so it looks like (Hayton’s) staying.”

Hayton, a native of Peterborough, Ont., had two goals and one assist for three points in 14 games with the Coyotes last season.

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