Friday, June 26, 2009

At Any Other Point

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)

Hartford needs more talent to keep the prospect pipeline flowing and


Kalel9 said...

In a red chip draft, like this one, you have to go BPA and pick the players your scouts believe in. And it's impossible to say Clark is wrong right now. The kid has obliterated any competition he's faced, thus far, and let's see how he does with some coaching. I'm much rather take a red chipper with a blue chip upside, than a red chipper who might go through the system fast and just be more of what we've already got.

Canyon of Blueshirts said...

Do you think Kreider plays in the USHL next season and leaves his HS? It doesn't seem to make much sense to me for him to stay there and then make the jump to BC.

Unknown said...

I'm sorry, but it is ridiculous to mercilessly rag on a player solely due to the level he played at. Kreider didn't just play well in the Prep league, he absolutely dominated. You have to trust Gordie's judgment on this one. If a player is the most talented at our pick I want him - I don't care where he plays - and Kreider's speed, size, and smarts will make him an NHL 3rd liner at worst.

Kreider will play 2 years at most at BC (starting this Fall) and then probably a year in the AHL. That has largely been the Rangers development timetable for the last few years - who else at 19 would be here sooner? Instead of splitting hairs over 6 months to a year of development time, be thankful that the Rangers scouts thought they landed the 11th best pick in the draft at 19.

Amos said...

the real question is, jess, would you rather the rangers have picked danica patrick?

elroy said...

I was rooting for Carter Ashton, simply based on all the press clippings. But after they picked Kreider, i went to his page in THN Draft Preview where I read the scout report that he was the best skater in the draft, better than most in NHL. I can't knock it. Picking 18 year olds is an uncertain science. This kid has tools, size and is going to an A1 program at BC

Anonymous said...

When is an NHL draft pick, even a first-rounder, ever a sure thing to make an impact right away. Once in a blue moon, when it's Sidney Crosby or Lemieux. Given the totally erratic track record of NHL picks, the notion that you would draft a player because you think he'll be ready sooner is absolutely absurd.

One thing I have noticed over the years in hockey: The fastest skaters generally wind up causing the most problems for defenses. If Kreider is judged the best skater available, I have to think the Rangers made the smart move.