Both of these players have the potential to be really solid NHL players so this was a pretty even trade, at least for the time being until we see how each of their careers progress at the NHL level.
Thomas, 21, was a former second round draft pick of the Rangers in the 2010 NHL Draft and is the son of former NHL player Steve Thomas. Last season, in 73 games with the Rangers’ AHL affiliate, Connecticut Whale, Thomas recorded 19 goals and 16 assists. Thomas also played one game for the Rangers last season but had no points in that game. He is very small at 5-foot-9, 170 pounds, and it is said that the Rangers made this move purely to get a little bit more size and add some extra depth to the lineup. Kristo is also a couple of years older, at 23, and is considered to be more NHL ready so he could see some playing time with the Rangers this upcoming season if there are any injuries.
Kristo was also a second round draft pick but in the 2008 NHL Draft by the Canadiens. Supposedly the Canadiens were not thrilled with Kristo’s decision to return to college for a fourth year for North Dakota and wanted him to join the team’s AHL affiliate, Hamilton Bulldogs. Because of his decision to stay in college for another year, it was rumored that Kristo was on the outs with the organization. Kristo is 6-foot, 190 pounds, and in his four seasons in college at North Dakota scored 68 goals and a total of 161 points in 157 games. Also just last season before joining the Canadiens’ AHL team, Kristo led his collegiate conference with 26 goals and 26 assists in 40 games.
Thomas might have one game of NHL experience over Kristo, but that literally means nothing. Kristo is bigger and two years older, which in my mind means he could be more ready to step into the Rangers lineup and produce when needed. Overall I would say this move benefits the Rangers in what they need to add more depth.