Earlier this year Rangers top-flight prospect Chris Kreider told media members he planned on returning to Boston College for his junior year.
Obviously, the Rangers media ate it up, especially after John Tortorella made comments about wanting him on the team this upcoming season.
Yesterday, rumors started running wild that Kreider had told BC officials he was going to go pro. Our good friend Andrew Gross spoke to Kreider and set the record straight. (Click the link to read the whole article, it's great work as usual.)
Just got off the phone with Kreider, who announced in April he would be returning for his junior season with Boston College, and the Rangers' first-round pick in 2009 said nothing has changed for him.
In other words, the rumor is not true.
Kreider did add that the "decision to go back for my junior season" was valid "as of now," which made it sound like that could change.
More after the jump.
It's not surprising Kreider left the door open to leave Boston College and come to the Rangers. Especially after Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh made such a splash in their rookie seasons with New York, both assuming key roles on the team and becoming fan favorites.
What is surprising is another piece of information Gross acquired from Kreider.
But Kreider said the decision wasn't as tough a decision as one might believe.
"There wasn't an offer on the table," Kreider said. "If (the Rangers) have been in touch with my agent, I'm not aware of it. They haven't been in touch with me at all."
Tortorella made it clear he wanted to see what Kredier could do with the big club earlier in the year. There is obviously a place for Kreider on the team, since goal scoring is still an issue for the Rangers. So why haven't the Rangers reaced out to him yet?
Maybe Glen Sather has been focusing on some of they key RFA's the Rangers currently have (Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, etc.) before he focuses on someone who can't be signed away by enemy forces. That's honestly the way this should be handled, especially when you have such big name players as RFA's. Kreider isn't going anywhere. The others potentially can.
Kreider, especially, garners excitement from Ranger fans because of his scoring prowess. And, let's face it, he's the first true sniper in the system since Alexi Cherapanov, who tragically passed away in 2008.
And why shouldn't Rangers fans get excited over Kreider? We all got a look at what him and Stepan can do on a line together when they lead the United States to gold in the 2010 World Junior Championship.
Eventually, when the Rangers extend a contract offer to Kreider, which I fully believe they will do, he will re-evaluate his current standing. I'm sure he has been in contact with Stepan and McDonagh about what it's like with the Rangers, and I'm sure he's especially talked to McDonagh about what it was like going from the AHL to the NHL; since that's a possible rout Kreider might take.
But don't get discouraged because Kreider wants to be patient, if he decides to remain in Boston College. It's a good thing that he doesn't want to overexert himself. He said it before, when he comes to the NHL he wants to be able to make an immediate impact.
If it takes another year in college so be it.