Just three days after winning a second NCAA championship in three years with Boston College, highly touted prospect Chris Kreider agreed to a three-year, entry-level deal with the Rangers Tuesday and could appear in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Kreider, 20, was the club's No. 1 draft choice in 2009 (19th overall), and had 22 goals and 43 points in 42 games with the Eagles in this, his junior year. The 6-3, 220-pound right wing, who is expected to sign the contract and join the team Wednesday, is eligible for the playoffs because he was on the team's reserve list at the Feb. 27 trading deadline. Financial terms were not confirmed Tuesday night.
But if he dresses in the postseason, the Boxford, Mass., native will burn an entry-level year. Players are not paid for the playoffs, and Kreider apparently would receive a games-played bonus. He also could be sent to play for the Connecticut Whale of the AHL until deemed ready.
It is unclear if the Blueshirts will rush the youngster into the lineup. Derek Stepan made the club out of training camp last season after foregoing his junior year at the University of Wisconsin, but three other Rangers who graduated from U.S. colleges -- Carl Hagelin, Ryan McDonagh and Brian Boyle -- played in the minors.
"I had more time to think about it over the summer and prepare myself the best I could, but it's definitely a big jump,'' Stepan said Tuesday. Hagelin, who played four years in Michigan, then spent 17 games with the Whale, added: "You've got to be a lot smarter up here, for sure."
Kreider has excelled on the international level. In 2010, he scored six goals for the gold-medal winning U.S. world junior team and four more for the bronze-medal team in 2011. The 10 goals tied him with John LeClair and Mike Modano for third all-time among U.S. players in the championships.
The Rangers suggested that Kreider, who starred in prep school at Phillips Andover Academy (Mass.), consider playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League after the draft, but the teenager and his family opted for Boston College.