Chris Kreider Recalled: Rangers Need To Do Right By Him ... Again
Another look at the Chris Kreider situation.
And here we are again. The New York Rangers have recalled Chris Kreider, presumably to replace Brian Boyle who missed most of Tuesday night's loss to the Philadelphia Flyers with a lower body injury.
The need to bring someone up from the AHL isn't shocking - everyone speculated that Boyle wouldn't be able to play Thursday, especially when he missed practice - but the fact that it's Kreider sort of is.
Look, here's the thing when it comes to Kreider and J.T. Miller:
1) The duo are easily the Rangers No. 1 and No. 2 prospects in the system right now. I'm not including anyone in the NHL even though they're young because, well, they're in the NHL.
2) Kreider is the home run of the two. Miller is much more well-rounded right now, and his poise and ability to stay calm will make him a special player, but he's probably never going to be a 40-goal scorer, Kreider can be. Right now you can make the case that Miller is the better player, but over the expected projection of each player's career you have to give the nod to Kreider.
So, with those things being said, it's clear that Kreider has outplayed Miller during their recent stint together in the AHL. Kreider has a goal and three assists in six games. I doubt it's about the points, however, I think Kreider was much better in his second stint with the team; Tortorella just wasn't ready to trust him or Miller. Now with the Boyle injury, Tortorella doesn't have a choice, so here comes Kreider.
My only issue with this move - I refuse to believe calling him up from the AHL hurts his confidence because he might get sent down, he understands he's an injury replacement - comes from a fear that Tortorella won't give him the proper minutes. He's here, you're stretching to make the playoffs as it is, it can't hurt to give him 15 minutes a night. Play the kid. He did fine in the pressure cooker of last year's playoff run, so I think he'll be OK now, too.
If he plays three minutes a night, doesn't leave the bench in the third and doesn't see the ice on the power play; then this is another poor decision. Remember that calling up and sending down Kreider is a management decision right now - Tortorella admitted as much earlier in the year - but how he is handled in-game is Tortorella's decision; and to this point that's been a major issue in my eyes.
The kid is supposed to evolve into a difference-maker. But he can't get there if the coaching staff doesn't give him the opportunity to make a difference.
Give him some more leash, the team has nothing to lose.
And they can use the spark, too.