GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Make no mistake, Chris Kreider is definitely on the radar as the youth movement continues. The Rangers wanted the team's first-round draft pick in 2009 to leave Boston College seven months ago and hope he joins the organization as soon as possible.
"I wish he turned pro last year and I hope he turns pro next summer," coach John Tortorella said Tuesday. He believes Kreider, 19, a sophomore left wing for the Eagles, is ready to play in the organization now, either in the AHL or perhaps the NHL.
"I had conversations with Ryan [McDonagh], with Step [Derek Stepan] and with Kreider [last summer]," Tortorella said. "In watching all three, we felt they were ready and [turning pro] wasn't going to hurt them. McDonagh and Step [who left the University of Wisconsin] decided to come and they're playing with us right now. Kreider decided not to, which is fine, because I'm sure he learned more going to the Beanpot and the world championship games; it's still a good training ground."
Named as the Rangers' top prospect in a recent Hockey News scouts' survey, the speedy, 6-3 forward has proven about all he can as an amateur. The Boxford, Mass., native was MVP of the Beanpot Tournament, scoring twice and setting up the game-winner Monday. He scored six goals for the gold-medal U.S. team in the World Junior Championships last year, and four for the bronze medalists this year. He was on BC's NCAA title team last year and has nine goals and 10 points in 26 games.
"I think education's important; it's a family decision," Tortorella said. "But as a coach, we want to sink our teeth into him as soon as possible to get him into a situation where he becomes a Ranger . . . We're anxious to get him involved in pro hockey. He's got some good stuff to offer."