Why Chris Kreider Is the Prospect the New York Rangers Must Hold On To

Ben Lippel@thewritebenContributor IIINovember 7, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - MAY 19:  Chris Kreider #20 of the New York Rangers looks on in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final against the New Jersey Devils during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Prudential Center on May 19, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

"Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value." — Albert Einstein

The man who discovered the theory of relativity obviously wasn't talking about Chris Kreider here. But he sure could have been, because No. 20 is a man of value.

And he has a chance to become a man of success as well.

So much so that of all the prospects in the New York Rangers pipeline, he is the one they must hold on to.


Prospect you say?

Yes, because even though he played 18 playoff games last season—he scored five goals, too—he has yet to play a single regular season game with the big club. 

But that didn't deter Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson, as he continually asked for Kreider to be one of the key pieces to be included in the Rick Nash deal.

Rangers General Manager Glen Sather just chomped on his cigar and shook his head "no" repeatedly.

And for good reason.

The 21-year-old out of Boston College, first rounder on Broadway in 2009, has the goods to be great.

Blueshirts bench boss John Tortorella knows it and can't wait to work with Kreider.

"I'm really anxious to see how Chris does in camp," he explained. "I'll do a lot more coaching with him than I could do during the playoffs. He's got to learn to be a pro and not miss any steps along the way. Plus, I want him to get to know me."

Unfortunately, due to the NHL lockout, that will take a bit longer than expected.

Other members of the Rangers organization have high hopes for the young power forward as well. 

"I think he has the makings of a star, I really do," said Jim Schoenfeld, Rangers assistant general manager and Connecticut Whale general manager. "His strength, his tremendous skating, his speed and power -- that quick release with the shot...the ethic young players have to develop is not so much the physical part of the game, it's the mental part regarding consistency. The difference between the very good players and the great players is the great players play at a high level on a more consistent basis."

Due to the work stoppage, playing on a more consistent basis means that Kreider is working on his craft in the AHL with the Whale. Ken Gernander, the Whale head coach who has spent nearly a decade-and-a-half in the AHL as both a player and coach, thinks the experience will benefit the Rangers' prized prospect in the long run.

“For Chris right now the challenge is to develop into a professional,” Gernander said. “He’s never had to play an 80-game grind. Big moments like the N.C.A.A. tournament or the World Junior Championship, it’s not the same as a professional who has to grind it out with the same group over the long haul just to get into the playoffs.”

Rangers fans have seen Kreider in the playoffs. He left them wanting more. Now, they're ready to see what he can do in the regular season—whenever that happens again—and beyond. But first things first.

“I’m very happy to be here (with the Whale) to try to learn to play hockey,” Kreider said.

Shouldn't be a problem. He's the best student in the Rangers organization.

Your thoughts?

Bonus Links

Is Chris Kreider on the verge of NHL stardom? Find out here.

Follow No. 20 on Twitter

The amazing Kreider-man goes through the process of becoming a pro.

It's election night—so here's a vote for Chris Kreider for Rookie of the Year.

Check out this in-depth look at the Rangers top prospects, including Kreider.


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