Kreider Doing His Thing
As the Nash rumours continue to circulate, Chris Kreider continues to go about his ‘job’. There’s been a lot of turbulence in college hockey recently. Amid the news of Paul Kelly leaving his post at College Hockey Inc., there has been racist chanting at NCAA games so all is not well at the college level. With prospects such as Nash being touted as trade deadline assets, it can’t be an easy time for the young college kids to deal with.
Despite all that, Kreider managed to stay focussed on his game and grab an assist during Boston College’s 2-1 win over Merrimack, a game in which the division leading Eagles were outshot and suffered through an ineffective powerplay. Despite going 1 for 5 on the PP, Kreider’s assist did come on the special team’s unit as he had the primary assist on Brian Dumoulin’s tally.
For the season, Kreider has moved on to 36 points in 32 games with 19 goals. Some people in Rangers-fan-land are throwing out numbers of former college stars that were borderline NHL’ers and pointing out the negative and indeed, they all (people can bend statistics to cater for their arguments) had better, more dominant numbers than Kreider.
That said, that was a long time ago and the focus these days is very much bigger on the better college scorers. Pressures to be the next big thing are simply bigger, media coverage of college hockey is much wider and team’s expectancies of these college kids are much more intense than even just 15, 20 years ago (at times due to draft status, financial necessity, dependency on prospects). It’s not comparable to say “Jay Pandolfo scored this and Kreider only scored that”. Oranges and Apples folks.
Barring a stunning turn of events Kreider will be a Ranger prospect next season, he may even be a Ranger. He’s physically ready, he made the sensible decision to stay in college this year (kid seems to have a sensible head on his shoulders) and he has always seemed to handle the pressure of being a much anticipated prospect well. Assuming he’s not packaged for Wayne Gretzky Rick Nash, the Kreider talk should settle down and the winger should be left to play out a solid season with the Eagles.
St Croix Approaching Milestone
There’s still a lot of hockey left to play yet Michael St Croix (of the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL) is approaching a fine milestone, and once again making the Rangers draft team look good. St Croix is just 8 points off the magic 100 mark as he continues to have a great season in the WHL. Good for 6th in the league, he only trails blue chip prospects such as Emerson Etem (an insane 52 goals in 54 games), Ty Rattie and Jordan Weal in the league scoring race.
St Croix is showing he can do it all. With 38 goals and 54 assists St Croix appears equally at home dishing off the puck as well as looking to score himself. St Croix is leading his club in scoring by a wide 17 point margin, has an excellent +34 rating and has scored 16 PP goals as well. Thanks, in part to St Croix, the Oil Kings lead the Eastern Conference by 4 points and have an excellent 39 wins in 60 games. Drafted 106th overall (fourth round) by the Rangers in 2011, St Croix has seen his performances improve every year (from 46 – 75 – 92 points so far) and appears a solid prospect. The WHL is notoriously the hardest junior league to score heavily in, yet St Croix is doing it impressively.
Fasth Still on Sidelines
It’s hard to find a timetable for Jesper Fasth’s return from a foot injury as the young winger has still not hit the ice over in Sweden. He was expected to be out approximately three months following injury in late November which has derailed a hugely promising start to his year.
The young winger had matched his previous SEL career high of 16 points in just 21 games and at one stage was among the leading scores of the SEL – no mean feat for such a young player in a veteran heavy league. Fasth had previously reached 16 points in 26 games which also was a solid return as a teenager in Sweden. Hopefully Fasth can get some games in before his season comes to a conclusion and get back on track in his development. An organisation can never have enough promising scorers.