Call this the last day off for us for a while but tape the New York Rangers vs the Pittsburgh Penguins game and watch Chris Kreider lead number 1 Boston College against Minnesota at 8 PM EDT on ESPN2.
One thing regarding Kreider and the 8 billion different stories you keep hearing about his status. You will find that 90% of the stories are missing pieces simply because people don't take the time to peek at the NHL/NHLPA CBA.
Now we will say that WE EXPECT that Chris Kreider will sign with the Rangers but not as fast as the rumor mill says. Kreider is a smart kid who learned to read while in school so he knows exactly what he can and can't get from the Rangers.
Can Kreider play for the Rangers in the playoffs?
Yes but it may not be in his best interests to do so from a contract standpoint. The key here is not burning a year of his contract but rather does it help his free agent status?
The answer is no because Kreider will not have played 10 regular season games so playing now won't count towards his 2nd contract or RFA status. In other words playing now would not help Kreider with leverage even if he "burns" a year.
He won't have any leverage.
How Many Years Does Kreider sign for?
Article 9.1b states that a player who signs his first SPC (standard player's contract) at ages 18-21 is subject to an ELC of 3 years. Kreider's birthday is April 30th 1991 which makes him 20 for the next 24 days.
Would they actually use Kreider in the playoffs?
Honest answer is just an opinion and that is no. Kreider is strong defensively and in many ways his defense is more NHL ready than his offense.
At the same time, the Rangers really don't have anyone on the CT Whale roster who could jump in and provide offense no matter what Whale stats may say. If the Rangers were to use Kreider then knowing Tortorella it would be for 8-9 minutes depending on how well he adapts.
In our eyes the better move is letting play for the Whale to start the playoffs and let him play 20-25 minutes there to see how Kreider adapts and adjusts to the AHL. If he can handle it then the Rangers can still recall him.
Why Tortorella would not want Kreider now?
The media circus for one thing because Tortorella can't blow off the media during the playoffs especially when the Billion Dollar Gorilla (Comcast) is going to want content. Tortorella will have to face post game news conferences or face paying the NHL some of his salary.
In the playoffs, 80% of the coaches shorten the benches in the 3rd period. John Tortorella shortens his bench during the national anthems which leads to all the questions about why isn't Kreider playing.
Like Tortorella or not (and we are not fans), we respect him for looking out for the longer term and if Tortorella is not 100% convinced Kreider adds to the team then he won't have him sitting in the press box, Kreider would be in the AHL.
If 109 points don't convince you then nothing will.
Really at what point do people realize that this not an 8th seed but a 1 seed? All season long the naysayers have been waiting for the wheels to come off and they didn't.
This team has winning experience up and down the lineup and if you really want to look for a key then in our eyes it has to be Michael Del Zotto. Unleash him Tortorella and he will create space for everyone.
19 points in 14 games (we still believe he suffered an injury) with the London Knight in 2009 OHL playoffs and he dominated in the playoffs. He went on the attack and that is why Del Zotto went from London directly to the Rangers.
Have a little faith and dare to dream.
(Kreider- NHL Media)