Rangers send Chris Kreider to AHL for playing time

Chris Kreider of the Rangers skates against the

Chris Kreider of the Rangers skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning. (Feb. 10, 2013) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

Rangers rookie Chris Kreider, who was a healthy scratch against the Islanders, has been assigned to the AHL to get some playing time.

Kreider, 21, had a goal and an assist in seven games. He missed five others, from Jan. 24 to Feb. 2, with a bone chip in his right ankle. The Connecticut Whale has three home games this weekend.

The move leaves the Rangers, who play Sunday night against the Capitals at Madison Square Garden, with 12 forwards, including J.T. Miller, 19, who has played five NHL games. If he plays a sixth, the Rangers will burn an entire season of his three-year entry-level contract, which is worth $2.775 million. Whether they are willing to do that is a question to be addressed by the front office.

Miller, a first-round draft choice in 2011, was moved from center to wing against the Islanders, coach John Tortorella said, because he "has struggled down low as far as the coverage . . . We're going to slowly try to teach him. I want to put him in spots where he doesn't have to make so many reads in the defensive zone.''

He added of Kreider, "I don't think Chris has done anything poorly. I don't think he's done anything really good, either."

Brian Boyle, a scratch for three games, had five shots and eight hits in 17:39 against the Islanders, winning 9 of 16 faceoffs. Miller scored twice against the Islanders in his MSG debut on Feb. 7 but hasn't registered a point since and has seen his ice time diminish.

After scoring five goals in 18 playoff games last spring, Kreider, a first-round pick in 2009, began the lockout season with Hartford and played 33 games, picking up five goals and seven assists. He was a minus-6.

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