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Rangers Agree to Terms With Vitali Kravtsov and Igor Shesterkin

Rangers' first-round pick in 2018 NHL Entry Draft and Rangers' fourth-round pick in 2014 NHL Entry Draft sign entry-level contracts

by New York Rangers @NYRangers

New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms on an entry-level contract with forward Vitali Kravtsov and with goaltender Igor Shesterkin.

Kravtsov, 19, skated in 50 games with Traktor Chelyabinsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) this past season, registering eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points, along with six penalty minutes. He led all KHL players younger than 20 years old in goals, assists, and points in 2018-19. Kravtsov's 21 points this past season are tied for the ninth-most by a KHL player younger than 20 years old in league history (tied with Artemi Panarin, who recorded 21 points in 2010-11), and his 13 assists in 2018-19 are tied for the eighth-most by a KHL player younger than 20 years old in the league's history. In addition, Kravtsov represented Traktor at the 2019 KHL All-Star Game. He tied for the team lead in game-winning goals (three), ranked third on Traktor in points and shots on goal (114), tied for third in assists, and tied for fourth in goals during the past season. Kravtsov also skated in four games with Traktor during the 2019 Gagarin Cup Playoffs, registering two assists. He tied for the team lead in assists, ranked second in shots on goal (12), and tied for second in points (two) and plus/minus rating (plus-one) in the playoffs this past year.

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The 6-3, 181-pounder has skated in 88 career KHL regular season games over parts of three seasons (2016-17 - 2018-19), all with Traktor Chelyabinsk, registering 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points, along with 12 penalty minutes. Kravtsov's 28 career KHL points are the eighth-most by a teenager in league history, and his 16 career assists are the seventh-most by a teenager in league history. He received the Alexei Cherepanov Award as the KHL's Rookie of the Year in 2017-18.

Kravtsov has skated in 26 career Gagarin Cup Playoff games in the KHL, registering seven goals and seven assists for 14 points, along with 12 penalty minutes. During the 2018 Gagarin Cup Playoffs, he tallied 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 16 games; Kravtsov recorded more playoff points in one year than any other teenager has in their career in the league's history. Kravtsov (who was 18 years old during the 2018 Gagarin Cup Playoffs) is one of only three players younger than 21 years old in KHL history to register at least 11 points in one playoff year (Vladimir Tarasenko - 16 points as a 20-year-old; Evgeny Kuznetsov - 11 points as a 20-year-old). Including the Russian Superleague (RSL), which was in existence from 1992-93 - 2007-08, Kravtsov's 11 points in the 2018 Gagarin Cup Playoffs were the third-most by a teenager in one playoff year since 1992-93. Since 1992-93, the only teenagers who recorded more points than Kravtsov in one playoff year in Russia's highest league of professional hockey are Maxim Afinogenov (16 in 1998-99) and Evgeni Malkin (15 in 2005-06). Kravtsov's seven career playoff assists and 14 career playoff points are the most by a teenager in KHL history (dating back to 2008-09), and his seven career playoff goals are the second-most in KHL history, trailing only Kuznetsov (eight). During the 2017 Gagarin Cup Playoffs, Kravtsov became the youngest player to register a playoff goal/point in KHL history (17 years, 61 days old).

Internationally, the Vladivostok, Russia native has represented his country in several tournaments. Most recently, Kravtsov registered six points (two goals, four assists) and posted a plus-four rating in seven games while helping Russia earn a bronze medal at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. Kravtsov, who served as one of Russia's alternate captains in the tournament, led the team in shots on goal (21), tied for third on the team in assists, and tied for fourth on the team in points.

Kravtsov was selected by the Rangers in the first round, ninth overall, of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Kravtsov was selected higher in the NHL Entry Draft by the Rangers than any other Russian-born player in franchise history (Alexei Kovalev was previously the highest-drafted Russian-born player in Rangers history - 15th overall in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft).

Shesterkin, 23, appeared in 28 games with SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) this past season, posting a 24-3-1 record, along with a 1.11 GAA, a .953 SV%, and 10 SO. Shesterkin's 1.11 GAA was the second-best in one season in KHL history, and his .953 SV% was tied for the second-best in one season in the league's history. In addition, his 10 shutouts in 2018-19 were tied for the third-most in one season in KHL history. Shesterkin led the KHL in GAA and SV% during the past season, and he earned a win in his final 10 appearances of the regular season, posting a 0.60 GAA, a .974 SV%, and 5 SO in those 10 games. He allowed one goal or fewer in 19 of his 28 appearances in 2018-19. Shesterkin also appeared in 10 games with SKA during the 2019 Gagarin Cup Playoffs, and he posted a 1.95 GAA over those 10 appearances. He appeared in six of seven games during the Western Conference Finals against CSKA Moscow, and he allowed two goals or fewer in each of the final five games of the series.

The 6-1, 187-pounder has appeared in 117 KHL games over parts of six seasons (2013-14 - 2018-19), posting an 88-16-7 record, along with a 1.68 GAA, a .935 SV%, and 27 SO. Among goaltenders who have made at least 50 career KHL appearances, Shesterkin's career 1.68 GAA is the best in league history and his career .935 SV% is the second-best in league history. In 95 regular season appearances over the last three seasons (2016-17 - 2018-19), Shesterkin posted a 79-9-4 record, along with a 1.49 GAA, a .940 SV%, and 25 SO. He has also appeared in 16 career Gagarin Cup Playoff games, and he helped SKA St. Petersburg win the Gagarin Cup in 2016-17. Shesterkin is a two-time KHL All-Star (2016-17 and 2017-18), and he was named to the KHL's First All-Star Team in 2016-17, as he posted a 31-4-1 record, along with a 1.64 GAA, a .937 SV%, and 8 SO in 39 appearances during the season.

Tweet from @NYRangers: IG😏R! #NYR pic.twitter.com/0EUZcc1wBl

In addition, Shesterkin has achieved success at several levels while playing in Russia. In 2015-16, he posted a 1.19 GAA and a .954 SV% in 25 appearances with SKA-Neva St. Petersburg in the Supreme Hockey League (VHL), the second-highest level of hockey in Russia, and he led the league in both GAA and SV% during the season. In 2013-14, he helped MHK Spartak Moscow win the Junior Hockey League (MHL) Championship, as he posted a 12-7 record, along with a 1.75 GAA, a .937 SV%, and 4 SO in 19 appearances in the playoffs, and he played in the MHL All-Star Game during the regular season, as he posted an 18-5-0 record, along with a 1.42 GAA, a .947 SV%, and 5 SO in 23 appearances.

Internationally, the Moscow, Russia native has represented his country in several tournaments. Shesterkin has been a member of Russia's team at the IIHF World Championship three times (2016, 2017, and 2018), and he earned a bronze medal in the tournament in both 2016 and 2017. He posted a 1.46 GAA, a .942 SV%, and 2 SO at the 2018 IIHF World Championship, and he established a Soviet/Russian record for consecutive shutout minutes in a single tournament at the World Championships. Shesterkin was also a member of the gold medal-winning Olympic Athletes from Russia team at the 2018 Winter Olympics. He helped Russia earn a silver medal at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, as he posted a 1.98 GAA, a .938 SV%, and 1 SO in five appearances and was named one of the Top Three Players on his Team in the tournament.

Shesterkin was selected by the Rangers in the fourth round, 118th overall, of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.


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