New York Rangers rookie Vitali Kravtsov picked up his first NHL goal in his ninth career NHL game on Sunday. The Chicago Steel were crowned regular-season champions of the United States Hockey League for the second consecutive year. Two New Jersey Devils prospects record career firsts in their 5-3 loss to the Rangers on Sunday night.
Kravtsov Picks Up First NHL Goal
It took nine games, but Rangers rookie Kravtsov finally recorded his first NHL goal. He gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead early in the first period, and they eventually toppled the New Jersey Devils by a final score of 5-3. He began the 2020-21 season in the KHL, and his offensive production increased significantly this season. He co-led Traktor Chelyabinsk in goal scoring with 16 goals despite playing 10 fewer games than teammate Lukas Sedlak. Kravtsov has always been known as a volume shooter, so it’s no surprise he co-led the team in shots on goal per game with 2.6.
He became the 11th KHL player in history to reach 40 career points before the age of 21. Rangers fans have a lot to be excited about with the addition of Alexis Lafreniere, the sophomore season for Kappo Kakko, and the emergence of Kravtsov. He finished his KHL season with 16 goals and eight assists for 24 points in 49 games played, as well as two goals and two assists in five playoff games.
Drafted ninth overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, he spent the 2019-20 season split between the American Hockey League and Russia’s KHL and VHL leagues. With the Hartford Wolf Pack, he put up six goals and nine assists in 39 games played. He played 11 games with Traktor amassing two goals and one assist, as well as two assists in three games with Chelmet Chelyabinsk in the VHL.
Chicago Steel Win Second Consecutive Anderson Cup
The Chicago Steel were crowned USHL regular-season champions capturing the Anderson Cup for the second consecutive season and the second time in franchise history. They comfortably lead the league with a 36-11-3-2 record and have the four top scorers in the league on their roster. Montreal Canadiens prospect Sean Farrell leads the league with 94 points, followed by 2021 draft-eligible forward Matt Coronato, captain Erik Middendorf and forward Josh Doan, who is the son of former NHLer Shane Doan.
The Steel are the first team to win the Anderson Cup in back-to-back seasons since the Green Bay Gamblers, who did it in 2008-09 and 2009-10. With the Clark Cup Playoffs happening this season, the victory ensures that the Steel will have home-ice advantage throughout the entirety of the playoffs. With both Farrell and Coronato heading to Harvard University next season, this is their final chance to carry the Steel to a Clark Cup Championship.
Studenic and Foote Record NHL First For Devils
The Devils have seen several of their young players make NHL debuts this season, and Marian Studenic and Nolan Foote are the most recent to capitalize on the opportunity. Heading in Sunday’s game against the Rangers, Studenic had gone pointless in his previous three NHL games while Foote was making his NHL debut. Down 3-0 late in the second period, Mikhail Maltsev kicked off the comeback effort by recording his fifth of the season with just over a minute left in the period. Studenic capitalized early in the third period, picking up a loose puck and sniping his first career NHL goal past Alexander Georgiev. Less than four minutes later, Nico Hischier tied the game at three, and Foote picked up his first NHL point with a secondary assist on the goal.
Both Studenic and Foote have had an impressive season in the American Hockey League for the Binghamton Devils. Studenic had three goals and four assists for seven points in 19 games before his call-up, and Foote had six goals and 10 assists for 16 points in 20 games played. The Devils’ future is bright, and they might be able to add another top prospect to the fold this season as the team is working on a contract for seventh overall pick Alexander Holtz.
Fan of the Anaheim Ducks for my whole life. I’m a die hard fan living in London, Ontario. Excited to be writing about the team I love. Talking all things Ducks on the Forever Mighty Podcast!