The New York Rangers would love to add Chris Kreider to their ranks for the rest of the season and a lengthy playoff run but right now Kreider is in the midst of the NCAA Division One Frozen Four tournament. On Saturday, Kreider led Boston College to a 2-0 victory over Air Force. Kreider scored both goals including one on the power play enroute to a victory over Air Force.
Kreider is a junior at the New England college but he is eligible to turn pro after the conclusion of the tournament or whenever Boston College is eliminated.
However, if B.C. makes it all the way to the finals, it is unlikely that Kreider will join the club. The latest that Kreider’s season can run is April 7th. However the NHL’s playoffs begin on April 11th. It is highly unlikely that Kreider would sign for just the playoff due to a number of factors.
Firstly, if Kreider signs for just the playoffs, since he wouldn’t participate in a regular season game, he would not receive a signing bonus. Secondly, it is doubtful that John Tortorella would throw Kreider in the mix without any experience. The Rangers want Kreider to turn pro but they won’t rush him.
Kreider has been the Rangers’ most touted prospect since the late Alexei Cherepanov, and for good reason. Kreider has a good head on his shoulders and has insisted on securing a degree before entering the NHL. In order to speed up the process, Kreider has doubled up his course load for the past few semesters so he can graduate as a junior.
This type of determination is a distinguishable quality and only speaks to Kreider’s character. He is a hard worker and with the proper development and seasoning, he will fit right into John Tortorella’s system. However until Kreider joins the team whether it be now or in training camp this summer, there is no idea what Kreider will be capable of at the the NHL level.
Could the Rangers use his scoring? Yes, the Rangers are a team with strengths in defense and goaltending but the lack of depth in offensive creativity and scoring is one the team will likely address this offseason. It will be interesting to see if Kreider joins the team and what kind of impact he can have if he is given the opportunity to do so.
Tom Urtz is a New York Rangers Columnist.
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