It is not that Chris Kreider is a bad prospect; it is not that Chris Kreider is going to be a bust but biggest problem with the New York Rangers selecting the youngster out of Boxford Mass. is that the Rangers need him sooner not later.
If the Rangers were a team in the kind of position like the Detroit Red Wings where they are annually a cup contender then the Rangers could afford to sit back and wait to see Kreider develop.
But they are not the Red Wings.
If the Rangers were a team like the Chicago Blackhawks or St. Louis Blues who are still young but climbing up the ladder to the top of the NHL then a Kreider would be a good pick to compliment an already established youthful core.
But the Rangers do not have the young talented core that the Blackhawks or Penquins have.
This is not about disliking Kreider but more about wondering what the Rangers are thinking with this pick. For a team that swears it is committed to building a core from the draft you seriously have to question a pick like this one.
The Rangers needed to use this pick better than they did as while Kreider just might become a productive player; the issue is when will that happen. We disagree with Gordie Clark when he says the Rangers see him as being ready in 2-3 years.
Sorry it is very doubtful to expect someone to go from Kreider's high school level to the NHL in that length of time.
We will use Clark's own beliefs against him here. Clark believes players need to dominate at the level they are at before advancing to the next level. If Clark's 2-3 year prediction is to be true then Kreider will have about 100-120 games of experience under his belt.
If Kreider was coming from the USHL, any of the Canadian Junior "A" leagues or even out of the United States National Developmental Program then the tranistion to the NCAAs would be different. At least in those leagues prospects play close to the same number of games played at the NHL level.
It also is a concern that in the video interview Clark did here that when asked if Kreider was the best skater, Clark said no the fastest. Speed is a great thing but you need more than just speed when skating and Clark appeared unwilling to say more than just Kreider was fast.
The Rangers called Kreider an "elite athlete" but did not go into specifics such as how well he plays in traffic, how is Kreider playing the physical game or what is Kreider like on defense. With all the other prospects that were available at 19 there was something about them good or bad.
It is almost as if you wonder if the Rangers themselves really are all in agreement about this pick. Watch Sather's interview here and wonder if he really knows a whole lot about this pick.
Yes nobody really knows how a prospect is going to eventually develop but the Rangers are not in a position where they can wait 4-5 years for a prospect to finally develop. They need help yesterday because of the mess the Rangers have created for themselves.
Even worse is that while Kreider is still attending Boston College others like Jordan Caron will be making life miserable for the Rangers with the Bruins or Carter Ashton with Tampa Bay. Both of those players were better fits for what the Rangers needs are.
Both of those players will be in the NHL within 2 years and again that is not Kreider's fault but you really have to wonder how serious the Rangers really are about becoming a Stanley Cup contender before 2200. While Kreider is at Boston College does anyone doubt that the Rangers will once again try to spend their way out of the mess they are in?
And again while this is not the fault of Kreider but there is going to be a gap of talent because of the tragic loss of Cherepanov but also the failure of Antoine Lafleur to develop. Those were the top 2 picks out of the 2007 draft and right now the only hope is that both Max Campbell and Carl Hagelin develop otherwise an entire draft class will be lost.
2006 brought the Rangers Bobby Sanguinetti and Artem Anisimov but not much more so now while 2008 looks to be a rock solid draft the Rangers need top level talent and they need it sooner than 4-5 years from now.
Day 2 is going to hopefully bring the Rangers more than role players but day 1 right now is suspect.
(Kreider courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images/NHL)
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