Fitting that on New York Rangers day, the Blueshirts have reportedly re-upped with one of their bright young talents.
Danny Kristo, the 56th overall pick at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, has inked a one-year, $826,875 deal with New York, per CapGeek. The deal comes roughly one month after Kristo, an RFA, accepted his qualifying offer from the Rangers.
A former scoring standout at the University of North Dakota, Kristo fared well last year with AHL Hartford in his first full season of professional hockey (he’d previously appeared in nine AHL games for Montreal, who originally drafted him before trading him to New York for Christian Thomas.) Kristo scored 25 goals for the Wolf Pack in ’13-14 and spent the majority of the season as the club’s top-line right wing.
“We liked [Kristo] in college,” Rangers’ director of player personnel Gordie Clark told NHL.com. “It wasn’t working out for him in Montreal and he turned out to be our No. 1 right wing in Hartford in his first full season. He’s got speed, skill and knack of the puck somehow following him around.
“We’re hoping to improve our pool of prospects at the center position where we weren’t very deep as an organization in Hartford. We hope Danny can help us in that area.”
Kristo, 24, has a fairly decent shot at seeing some big-league minutes this year. The Rangers lost some depth up front this summer (Benoit Pouliot, Brian Boyle, Brad Richards) and have tried to replace it with veterans on the cheap (Lee Stempniak, Matthew Lombardi, Chris Mueller), so one would think there’s an opportunity there if the older guys don’t work out. That said, Kristo will also likely be battling another young prospect — Jesper Fast — for minutes on the wing. Fast, a 22-year-old Swede, appeared in 11 games for New York last season and three during the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Final.
It doesn’t get much better than a player making the type of save you’d only expect from a goalie. OK, how about this: when it happens amid the high stakes of the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel had already been distinguishing himself with a red-hot scoring start to the postseason, but he made a big difference in a way that won’t show up in the box score (aside from maybe as a blocked shot) for Game 1 against the Washington Capitals.
In one of the few golden opportunities in a notably tight first period, Guentzel made a “kick save” to keep it 0-0. He also managed to avoid giving the Capitals a penalty shot in the process, so this was quite the effort from the impressive rookie.
Video will be added soon. Here’s the moment in GIF form first:
You know how goalies claim they prefer to be busy rather than risking rust in seldom seeing shots? If that’s true, Henrik Lundqvist was really, really happy in the first period.
The Ottawa Senators generated chance after chance in a busy opening frame of Game 1, generating a 21-12 shot differential against the New York Rangers. The game remains 0-0 in large part because Lundqvist has carried over his momentum from the Montreal Canadiens series so far.
As you can see from the video above, Lundqvist made some absolutely fantastic saves, especially in somehow stopping Mark Stone.
In a duller game, 21 shots on goal could a team’s entire output.
That’s impressive stuff from what appears to be a “vintage” Lundqvist. We’ll see how much more the Rangers lean on him as this one goes along.
Oh, and here’s a GIF of the best stop of the bunch, because seriously.
The Pittsburgh Penguins get a familiar face back in the lineup, as Chris Kunitz is good to go against the Washington Capitals in Game 1.
The 37-year-old has been sidelined since March 31, ending his regular season with just an assist in his final nine games. His last goal came on Feb. 16.
So, in other words … he’s not quite as big of a deal for this series as he had been in the past.
He’ll draw into a solid fourth line with Matt Cullen and Tom Kuhnackl, while Carter Rowney will be a healthy scratch. Check out the Penguins’ line combos heading into Thursday’s showdown:
The NHL announced the three finalists for the Mark Messier Leadership Award: Nick Foligno (Columbus Blue Jackets), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) and Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames).
In case you’re curious about the process, the league explains how it works (and how the buck stops with Messier):
Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel as well as NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates for the award. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier’s alone.
So, yes, it might come down to steeliness/60.
Anyway, the most fun part of this award is that Getzlaf and Giordano just engaged in a first-round series, with Getzlaf’s hit on Giordano (see above) being one of the standout moments.
Perhaps Giordano will at least get the best of Getzlaf in this one?