It's been a while since the New York Rangers have produced a real offensive star forward but this youngster has the goods and he has a knack for playing at his best in big games. He was a first rounder, 19th overall in 2009, and he should live up to the billing and then some. He has been a wiz on the power play and that has New York Rangers fans thinking that when he’s signed maybe he can hit the ground running and possibly be a contributor in this year’s playoff run. There is a danger in that. It’s not the fact that he’s 20 (will be 21 at the end of April), age isn’t the factor here. The issue is he hasn’t played one professional game under his belt. Even if he practices with the team where would he play? Let’s say they find a spot for him on the third line. He would get 10-11 minutes, maybe a few on the power play and if he happens to make a bad turnover, which is common in a youngster’s first NHL game, how will that play on Broadway?
Mark Edwards of www.hockeyprospect.com is a terrific scout and here is his take:
“I'm a fan of him and he could probably help the Rangers. I think it comes down to what role the coaches see him in. The safe route is obviously the AHL.”
I’ve seen the Boxford, MA native play in International competition, outdoor games and now two Frozen Four championship games. He has two NCAA titles under his belt and he is a big winger at 6-3, 225 pounds. With all of that said will Rangers coach John Tortorella, a man who has been hesitant in mixing in seasoned Connecticut Whale players into his lineup, all of the sudden green light this? I say no way.
He has a well above-average wrist shot which looks to be an important offensive tool. He can shoot with a player on him. But that’s a college defenseman not an NHL defenseman who can match his size and speed and chances are is much stronger. His skating is good but still not above average. He can move the puck up the ice well and he has good moves. With all of that said the speed of college hockey games more resembles the AHL rather than the NHL. I feel like he can do the corner work in an NHL game but I don’t know if he can adjust to the speed of the game with just a few practices under his belt. To me he didn't dominate his last championship run (3 goals, 1 assist) enough to warrant this kind of debut.
Blues future star Jaden Schwartz had a chance to get in 7 NHL games when his college career ended and he signed with St. Louis. He had 3 points in seven games and he’s almost as talented as Kreider. I think a great college talent needs at least a few games to see how he can handle the challenge. When a team is competing in the playoffs that’s just not a great time to see if a player is NHL ready. Also if he plays now he burns a year off his entry-level deal and that's another important factor going forward.
photo courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
©2000-2012 Sportsology. All Rights Reserved.