Chatted with Chris Kreider, the Rangers' top amateur prospect, late last week. Here's the column I wrote on Kreider leaning towards staying at Boston College for his junior year and the complicating factor of there being no performance bonus cushion in the CBA this year, leaving the Rangers without much salary cap room to add a bonus-laden, entry-level deal like the one Kreider would sign.
Those are two fairly different things -- Kreider's purely hockey-based feeling that he's not ready for the grind of the NHL and the Rangers' salary-cap juggling. But they may combine to keep Kreider in BC for another year. The Rangers definitely want Kreider in their system rather than in college, even if it's a full season with Connecticut of the AHL, but Kreider wants to be a pro when he's mentally and physically prepared for whatever may happen.
Kreider was in Kosice, Slovakia, playing in his second straight World Championships for the U.S. -- he and Craig Smith are the only two amateurs playing for Scott Gordon. "He definitely gets the most out of his players," Kreider said of Gordon, the BC alum. "It's fun to play for him."
Kreider is a sharp young man and he said he doesn't pay attention to the Rangers fans on the web who are clamoring for his arrival as the next good young Ranger. "Really? This is the first I'm hearing of all that," he said. "I guess it's not too tough to stay away from that."
The Rangers may yet sway Kreider to sign and spend next season in the AHL, learning their system. If Kreider spends a full year in the minors, his bonus money won't matter; but if he signs, comes to camp and pulls a Derek Stepan, the Rangers will have some tough decisions to make.