Rangers Send Carpenter to AHL; Kreider Ready to Return?

This move certainly seems to suggest that Chris Kreider will be back in the lineup for the Rangers’ next game on Thursday night.

The New York Rangers have announced that they have sent forward Ryan Carpenter back down to the AHL.

Carpenter had been recalled to the Rangers from the AHL on Jan. 15 in the wake of injuries to Julien Gauthier and Chris Kreider. While he did not suit up, the Rangers understandably wanted to have an extra forward on hand with a diminished roster.

His re-assignment to the Hartford Wolf Pack suggests that Kreider will be ready to return to the Rangers’ lineup for Thursday night’s home showdown against the league-leading Boston Bruins.

With Gauthier still on injured reserve following a friendly-fire collision with Sammy Blais in Thursday’s game against the Dallas Stars — the second consecutive game Gauthier took a hit that forced him to leave early — all signs point to Kreider being the player ready to return. Kreider left Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild with an apparent arm/shoulder injury following a hit from the Wild’s Marcus Foligno. He has not played since then, but Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant indicated before Monday’s 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets that Kreider was “real close” to returning.

Kreider’s return should certainly boost a Rangers lineup that has had some trouble scoring in the short time he’s been out. As much as his absence presented an opportunity for Alexis Lafrenière, who got his top-line and first-power-play minutes, Lafrenière still appears to be lacking confidence, and has not been able to produce in this short stint. Hopefully he can rediscover his confidence, even in a lesser role, but in any event, the Rangers are clearly a stronger, deeper team with Kreider in the lineup. Assuming he will play on Thursday, the Rangers will need him and everyone else to be at their best in order to have a realistic chance at beating the Bruins.