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Returning Kreider to AHL is not the end of the world

March 1, 2013, by
AP Photo/Nick Wass

AP Photo/Nick Wass

Rangerland was torn yesterday when Chris Kreider was returned to the AHL. On one side, many blamed Torts for not playing the kid enough to allow him to grow. On the other (note: more rational) side, many looked at is as a way for Kreider to get some solid playing time to work on the aspects of his game that need maturation. It’s clear how we feel on the matter.

This isn’t the first time the Rangers have sent a player back to the AHL to work on some things. Most recently, the Rangers did this with Michael Del Zotto, and it paid off wonderfully. For those that forgot, MDZ was in the middle of an awful sophomore season when the organization returned him to Connecticut to work on his game and rebuild his confidence. Now, he’s a top-four defenseman.

MDZ wasn’t the only player to receive this treatment either. The Rangers did this with Ryan Callahan in 2008 as well. The future captain had some areas of his game he needed to work on. He did. Now he’s the captain.

Kreider is no different from MDZ or Cally in this regard. He’s not ready for the NHL, so he needs to work on his game at the AHL level. Many were blinded by his playoff performance –his very sheltered playoff minutes against inferior competition– and they believed he could continue with that pace. But Kreider struggled in the AHL during the lockout. He wasn’t scoring, he wasn’t playing well defensively, and he just looked lost at times.

When he was called up to the NHL, it was only because the Rangers were thin on the bottom six. His play in the AHL didn’t warrant a call up at all. But his struggles in the AHL stayed with him at the NHL level, and it was only a matter of time before the Rangers sent him back to work on his game.

At the current moment in his career, the coaching staff couldn’t trust Kreider in any situation other than a favorable offense situation. That’s not how Torts uses his key guys. Kreider is going to be one of those key guys, and he needs to be able to play confidently both with and without the puck to be counted on in this system.

Kreider will rebound. He’s too skilled and too smart not too. Players need development time, that is the only reason for this move.

Categories : Players


  1. RangerTex says:

    I agree. Kreider is better off playing 20 minutes in Hartford than 10 (at best) minutes on the 4th line in NY.
    Torts sees him as a power forward, he needs to learn to be more physical, which I agree with.
    With his speed, size and shot, he can be a bigger, better version of Hagelin.

  2. joe719 says:

    If they are sending him down to help recapture his game, then I agree its a good thing. If they’re sending him down to try and mold him into just another 3rd line, grinding winger( which seems to be the type of player the coach covets), then it is a mistake. The guy is a stud. To see him out there the other night with Brian Boyle, or Jeff Halpern was just ridiculous. And if that was the way Torts was going to continue using him, then it is best that he gets sent down. But in Hartford, are there any comparable offensive players that can help revive his game? I don’t see any. It seemed that during the lockout, Kreider’s struggles were all we were hearing about. Maybe the coach was just a little too influenced by his play with a talent-deprived Hartford team. He needs to play with a first or second line center to bring out his talent. I don’t think he is going to get that in Hartford.

    • Dave says:

      They are sending him down to work on his game. He will still be that top-six guy, but he needs to learn how to play without the puck.

    • Walt says:

      Everything you say is spot on, and the kid will be better served for it long term. Again, and I don’t mean to kick a dead horse, but why did it take this long to make this move??

      I for one hope that he isn’t going to be gun shy if, and when, they call him again, because he doesn’t want to get in Torts’ dog house. Once you become a resident of the dog house, you become a permanent fixture there as long as Torts is running th show.

      • The Suit says:

        Walt – Watch the Torts interviews we post. If you watch these and if you watch Behind the Bench, you will clearly see Kreider was not in any dog house.

        The staff worked with him as much as they could, but at the end of the day, these coaches are prepping to win hockey games more than anything. He is just not ready for the show at this time. This is all part of the process. He’ll be fine.

        • Walt says:


          The main point I was trying to make is, WHY did it take this long to make this move?? I understand that he is learning, but why put him in a situation where he was doomed to fail. He played scared, and it showed big time, everyone could see this. That is the reason I posted earlier that I hoped Torts didn’t break this kid!!

          • Mikeyyy says:

            Because its a line of bs that torts is spouting.

            Hard to believe someone who is looking for,scoring sends 2 scoring threats down…Thomas and Kreider.

            Thomas didn’t even get enough minutes to show them what he has.

            The list is staggering…..players whom torts couldn’t get playing “well” enough.


            And soon to add Gaborik and Richards.

            His track record with skill players speaks for itself.

            Glen can only sign grinder, two way forward types. Because that all the torterella system can utilize.

          • VinceR says:

            Kreids got some chances when players like Boyle were playing badly…Boyle sat and a spot was open for a try.

            Shortly after this, Boyle was given a chance to respond to the benching and Kreider sat, and was due to be sent back down. In fact he was for a game. Then we lost Powe and were unsure on Nash and had to fill spots again.

            Now they are well again and he’s getting sent back down. It makes sense…they wanted to try him out, gave him a shot, decided he should be sent back down, but out of necessity, kept him up for a little longer.

  3. nyr1579 says:

    as upset as i am at this move(recently purchased kreider jersey) i makes total sense. he was lost out there. he was a defensive liability. he wasnt taking the body like he should. he was not playing confidently. the injury situation muddled things, perhaps in hindsight, they should have sent him down recalled newberry or thomas earlier. the key now is playing time. finding himself. would it help to have a top line center in hartford helping? sure. if that player isnt there(and as much as Kyle Jean has been a pleasant addition – he is not that guy) so be it. he just needs to play regularly, and know what his role is, so he can stop thinking and play. if he doesnt come back up this season that is fine. he will undoubtedly be an important member of the big club for a very long time soon enough.

  4. Mikeyyy says:

    Torts has always had problems with the skill players. He doesn’t have time to teach them. Kreider would be better served learning from the big boys. Instead we are sending him down to learn defense. If I wanted defense I would call up someone who is that. We want scoring and he can score. But again torts is asking thoroughbreds to play like pack horses.

  5. agentsmith says:

    shenn and kadri both spent years in the a. kreider needs to sharpen his IQ. biggest thing he lacks imo.