We at Rangers 101 are just going to come out and say it. The 21-year-old forward should be in the AHL if he's not going to suit up for the Rangers. Here's why: if Kreider isn't playing significant minutes with the Rangers — or none at all — what's the point of him being on the team?
The 2009 first-round draft pick is loaded with potential, and someone some NHL scouts say could be a potential 40-goal scorer in the future. He has a great skill set of size and speed that could translate well to the NHL's harsh level of play.
Rangers head coach John Tortorella knows that Kreider isn't going to perform well playing on the first or second line. He isn't ready. We get that. However, he needs to develop his game.
Kreider will grow as a player if he plays on the first line for the Connecticut Whales, getting about 20 minutes per night. Instead, the Rangers have their prospect watching games from the team's luxury suit.
Kreider should go down to the AHL and work on becoming a more well-rounded player. Tortorella has expressed how he believes Kreider needs to work on his defensive game. Perhaps another long stint in Connecticut will help him improve upon that aspect of his game. So, when it is later in the regular season, the playoffs, or even next year, Tortorella will trust having Kreider on the ice in important situations.
The key for Kreider is to get ice time in order to better his game on both sides of the ice. He's not getting in on Broadway right now, so he shouldn't be there. He should get some minutes in the AHL against some former NHL players, and when he returns to Madison Square Garden, he hopefully will be ready for first or second line minutes to help lead the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals!
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