Canucks Young Forward Leaving Team for KHL

The Vancouver Canucks will have a hole to fill next season as forward Vitali Kravtsov is leaving the NHL, signing a two-year contract in Russia with Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL.

Kravtsov was a former first-round pick of the New York Rangers and was acquired in a in-season deal in 2022-23. He put up six points in 28 games in New York and then collected two points in 16 games with the Canucks.

Kravtsov was a healthy scratch eight times last season with the Canucks after head coach Rick Tocchet gave him every opportunity to prove himself to the new bench boss, but frankly towards the end of last season the team had seen enough and sent him to the press box. His work ethic has always been his biggest hurdle and a main reason why he's been a bust since being drafted.

The 23-year-old winger is a restricted free agent this summer and now frees up roughly $1 million in cap space for the Canucks who could use every penny. Expectations are changes are still coming to the franchise as they look to move out some expensive contracts. Freeing up a roster spot certainly helps as Kravtsov heads back to his mother land.

Photo credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports