The New York Rangers have signed Chris Kreider after weeks of speculation. Kreider, a 21 year old power left winger, just won his second NCAA National Title with Boston College and it was announced that the Rangers signed him to a three-year $3.9M contract with an annual cap hit of $1.3M per season.
With Kreider on the roster, he will practice with the team tomorrow as the team prepares to face off against the Ottawa Senators. While Kreider may not have any NHL experience, he has participated in the World Championship for Team USA and has played alongside NHL talent. While this may not be the same as playing in an NHL game, Kreider is not your average prospect.
Kreider is a character player and insisted on earning his degree before making the jump.
The Rangers are a team that has tons of great checking and scoring forwards, but they lack another scoring forward. Kreider has the speed, skill and size to have an impact if he is paired with complimentary players.
With Kreider fresh of an NCAA National Championship season he could have an impact if used correctly in this Rangers lineup. He is 6″3 and 230 pounds and that should allow Kreider to hold his own against the Senators. Kreider’s speed is one of the biggest assets to his game.
Take a look at this clip of Kreider accelerating down the ice on a breakaway.
He is a prototypical power forward whom Rangers fans would love to see paired up with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik. If these three are paired together, here is a potential lineup.
Chris Kreider | Brad Richards (A) | Marián Gáborík
Brandon Dubinsky | Brian Boyle | Ryan Callahan (C)
Carl Hagelin | Derek Stepan | Ruslan Fedotenko
Mike Rupp |Artem Anismov | Brandon Prust
This would feature a balance, skill, grit and energy throughout the lineup. Each line would feature interchangeable parts that could be tweaked based on how things work in the first round.
This is great news for the Rangers because Kreider could fill the void they left at the trade deadline. Kreider is one of the league’s most touted prospects not in the NHL so hopefully he can live up to and exceed the hype. If Kreider is indeed that missing piece, the Rangers’ playoff chances for success just dramatically increased.
With game one on Thursday, fans are already getting antsy to see Kreider skate with the team in practice.
Tom Urtz is an Rangers columnist
For more NHL news, updates and alerts about players: