16. Colorado Avalanche – RW Vitali Kravtsov
The Colorado Avalanche are one of the youngest most exciting teams to watch in the league. They have plenty of talent on offense and on defense. This means the Avalanche are in a great position to get the best player available with this pick. Vitali Kravtsov is a good fit for this squad. Kravtsov will pair well with the fast-paced Avalanche and give them a little bit of edge. What makes Kravtsov unique is he does not give up any offensive talent while playing with the physical edge. Most thought the Avalanche would struggle after trading Matt Duchene, but they did the exact opposite. Adding Kravtsov will give them depth offense and a solid third line winger with the upside to jump to the second line.
Getting a read on Kravtsov was not easy. He played at every level of Russian hockey this season. Starting in juniors then jumping to the MHL and even had some games in the KHL before the season ended. When playing against younger competition Kravtsov was good, almost too good. He was not challenged enough and he would seemingly look bored. As the competition around him get better so did he. He is another prospect that doesn’t have one category that stands out but he is good all around.
What really boosted his draft stock was his KHL playoff experience. In 16 games for Traktor Chelyabinsk Kravtsov picked up 11 points. This is a great stat line for a teenager playing in the second best pro hockey league in the world. If he can start next season off this strong in the KHL Kravtsov could make the jump to the NHL next year. Seeing the path that Eeli Tolvanen to Nashville could be the same path for Vitali Kravtsov. Colorado would love to add a player like Kravtsov at the end of the season for a playoff run.