Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports that Rangers assistant GM Jeff Gorton is at the Frozen Four in Tampa, “prepared to talk contract with Chris Kreider.”
This development is noteworthy. Kreider, New York’s first-round selection at the 2009 draft, will lead Boston College into battle tonight against the University of Minnesota.
With a win, the Eagles advance to Saturday’s final.
With a loss, the Eagles’ season is done…and Kreider’s courtship begins.
We’ve covered this situation extensively over the past few days. While it might seem like overkill — how important could a 20-year-old with no NHL experience be to a playoff-bound club? — you have to understand that Kreider is not the average NCAA hockey product.
One, he’s big — 6-foot-3, 230-pounds — and can handle the physicality of an NHL postseason.
Two, he’s played with men before, and on a big stage. He represented Team USA at the 2011 World Hockey Championships, drawing rave reviews from head coach Scott Gordon, most notably after scoring a highlight-reel goal in a 5-1 win over Austria.
“He is so much more mature on and off the ice,” Gordon said. “He looks confident. Even before he scored the goal, he had a change of speed that messed up the defender along the boards.”
Three, his acquisition would be a “something for nothing”-type deal, not unlike what Nashville got in Alexander Radulov. While Kreider can’t be expected to replicate the success Radulov’s had with the Preds, it would be a nice jolt for the Rangers — especially since GM Glen Sather was unable to pull the trigger on any significant trade deadline move (see: Nash, Rick.)