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

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

The best of Jakub Voracek on his 29th birthday

The best of Jakub Voracek on his 29th birthday

It's Aug. 15, the dog days of summer and hockey is still a few weeks away.

But Jakub Voracek turns 29 years old today and this summer, the winger has already played a big part in helping push the Flyers' process into its next stage by helping recruit James van Riemsdyk back to town (see story).

Voracek is coming off a career-best season at 28 years old, posting 85 points in 82 games in 2017-18. He finished fourth in the NHL with 65 assists and ninth with 35 power-play points.

All of this came after a somewhat disappointing 2016-17 season — 61 points in 82 games, not particularly bad numbers but also not the production you'd like from a player with an $8.25 million cap hit and in Year 1 of an eight-year, $66 million extension.

Last season, though, Voracek proved that he can still very much produce at a top level. Since joining the Flyers in 2011-12, Voracek is third among all wingers with 303 assists and fifth in points with 439. Since the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, he's eighth among all skaters with 272 assists and 15th in points with 390.

With today being Voracek's birthday, let's take a look back at some of the best from his time as a Flyer because Voracek is one of the most personable players around.

Some plays

Jan. 27, 2016: Voracek scored the game-winner 38 seconds into overtime. It was an important goal in a big game as the Flyers were in the middle of a wild-card chase (see story).

Oct. 14, 2017: The Flyers put a pounding on the Capitals in an 8-2 win at the Wells Fargo Center. Voracek had three assists. This one was one of them. Poor Madison Bowey.

Jan. 13, 2018: Voracek has also torched other teams than the Capitals. Here is a kick pass to Giroux against the Devils in North Jersey.

Some fights

Voracek is not exactly a fighter. According to, he has four official fights during the regular season and all have come with the Flyers.

There was the time he dropped the gloves with Gabriel Landeskog for about 30 seconds in Colorado and then said, "I don't think I picked the right city to fight in."

Then there was the time when he roughed up Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi.

Some singing

Sportswriters aren't the only ones who like Bruce Springsteen. Yes, Voracek is also a fan.

A little charity

On Feb. 28, 2017, against the Avalanche, Voracek was eventually credited with a goal many Flyers fans believed was Wayne Simmonds' hat trick. In fact, 396 hats came pouring down to the ice.

As a gesture for taking a hat trick away from Simmonds, Voracek purchased 396 new Flyers hats and donated them to local hospitals for children battling cancer (see story).

More on the Flyers

Flyers will face New York Islanders again in annual rookie game

USA Today Images

Flyers will face New York Islanders again in annual rookie game

While the Flyers have not announced the start of their rookie and training camp, they did provide an indication Tuesday of when the camps will be.

For the third straight season, the Flyers and New York Islanders will square off Sept. 12 in their annual rookie game. This time, it returns to New York.

The game will be at 6 p.m. on Sept. 12 at the Northwell Health Ice Center, the Islanders' practice facility in East Meadow, New York. According to Newsday's Andrew Gross, ticket proceeds will benefit the Islanders' Children's Foundation.

In years past, the Flyers have streamed the games on their official website.

Last year, the Flyers-Islanders rookie game was on Sept. 13, 2017, two days after rookie camp began and two days before the main camp opened.

The rookie game marks the official end of rookie camp, so by the process of elimination, a safe guess would be the Flyers' rookie camp will be Sept. 10 and training camp likely opening a day or two after the game.

The Islanders beat the Flyers, 4-3, in overtime last September. The Flyers won the first game two years ago. From 2007 to 2014, the Flyers and Capitals faced each other in their annual rookie games.

Rookie games are fun because they're the first glimpse of prospects and with the Flyers, there's a ton to be excited about — even if signing James van Riemsdyk accelerates their process (see story).

More on the Flyers