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.