The Vancouver Canucks took a chance on Vitali Kravtsov last season when they acquired him from the New York Rangers. The former ninth-overall pick had yet to break out for the Rangers but the Canucks hoped a change of scenery might be all he needed.
It didn't work out, as Kravtsov played a largely nondescript game with the Canucks, failing to stand out in any one area. At the end of the season, Kravtsov decided to head back to Russia to play for his former club in the KHL, Traktor Chelyabinsk.
Still, the Canucks gave Kravtsov a qualifying offer to retain his signing rights as a restricted free agent. If he shines as a KHL star over the next two seasons, there's a chance the Canucks could bring him back to Vancouver.
The KHL season has already kicked off and Kravtsov got off to a hot start with five points in five games. Unfortunately, Kravtsov's season has come to a crashing halt thanks to a hit from veteran HC Lada Togliatti defenceman Maxim Berezin.
The hit came early in the first period after Kravtsov had already scored a goal for Traktor. As Kravtsov took a pass in the neutral zone, Berezin stepped up and caught the winger with his head down, sending him violently whiplashing to the ice, where he appeared to hit the back of his head.
Though Kravtsov quickly returned to his feet and momentarily seemed okay, he left the game and did not return.
The hit was deemed clean as Berezin received no penalty on the play, though Kravtsov's teammate, Artem Blazhievsky, was penalized for tackling Berezin after the hit.
According to a press release from his team, Kravtsov will be out for 4-6 weeks with an upper-body injury.