Musings: Will Chris Kreider shine with a new head coach?

September 19, 2013, by
Will Kreider finally shine under AV? (Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

Will Kreider finally shine under AV? (Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

So hockey has actually begun. The preseason games are underway and we’ve seen the preseason roster already begin to dwindle. So, what’s next? The Musings is of course.

When hearing Alain Vigneault discuss the potential of Chris Kreider being used in front of the net it gave a small but significant insight into his different mindset compared to John Tortorella. Vigneault looks at Kreider as an opportunity, not necessarily as a rookie who has to earn his stripes. There was merit to Tortorella’s approach (he was after all successful as Rangers HC) but trying to use players in a variety of scenarios will surely help maximise a players potential and the teams overall success.

Martin Biron: surely the only choice as the back up to the Rangers. Whether he’s more expensive than Hedberg or not, he’s arguably the best back up in the league and over a full season he’ll surely get opportunity to prove himself again.

Have we reached the stage yet where Derek Stepan’s holdout is becoming detrimental to both him and the Rangers for the upcoming season?

I can’t wait to see Danny Kristo in a meaningful NHL game. I think he will get an opportunity to begin the year and would love to see him play with Brassard and Pouliot even if those two have had success with Zuccarello. Kristo’s upside excites me.

Speaking of Derick Brassard; one preseason game does not a season make, but you have to be encouraged that he appears to have picked up where he left off from last year. If Brassard continues the upward career trajectory he has developed as a Ranger then the Rangers roster (when healthy) has a much deeper look and feel to it. Depth equals contender.

Another reason depth is so critical: As currently ‘able’, the Rangers will be missing three of their top six offensive producers when they open the regular season. Good depth will help accommodate such holes. Depth equals contender.

I really liked the potential of Benoit Pouliot when he was signed over the summer and it sounds like Alain Vigneault likes what he sees so far. If you average out last year to a full season, Pouliot would have been averaging over 13 goals per year for the past four years. He could be a cap bargain like the Rangers hoped they had found in Pyatt last season. The difference? Skating ability.

There’s going to be some disappointed players heading to Hartford in a week or so but disappointment can mean opportunity. The Wolf Pack could have a ton of offensive upside to begin the year and the likes of Fast, Miller, maybe a Lindberg, St Croix or even Kristo have the opportunity to demand attention with strong starts to the year. Artem Anisimov was an example of a guy who turned strong, consistent (key word) minor league play into a solid Rangers career.

Question time:

  • Which prospect excites you most heading toward the regular season?
  • How many games should Biron start in the preseason?
  • What is the greater need entering the regular season: improved special teams or physicality?
  • Will Mats Zuccarello be a Ranger for the entire season?
  • Brian Boyle or Dom Moore?
  • Who will be the second highest goal scorer on the Rangers (assuming Nash delivers)?


  1. Puck Luck (@Centerman21) says:

    1-Kristo fills a need on the right side. I have nothing against the Swedes but Kristo is American so I’m excited to see him make the team.
    2-Hank looked better in the playoffs when he played 60 or 62 games. Biron plays 20
    3-Physicality to me is a bigger need. AV will get the PP to at least be opportunistic.
    4-Zucarello’s tenure depends on himself but I’d say yes. He’s here all year.
    5-Both Boyle and Moore on the 4th line together with Dorsett at RW.
    6-Stepan is the 2nd leading goal scorer.

  2. Bloomer says:

    The Ranger youth although promising haven’t scored in the pre-season as of yet, they have some seasoning needed before they make the jump to the big league. JT Miller wasn’t ready when he was brought up and Krieder needs to bring more consistency to his game. There is room in the lineup for Moore and Boyle. The absence of Cally, Hags and Stephan is really going to show when the puck is dropped for the Rangers regular season opener.

  3. Mikeyyy says:

    Which prospect excites you most heading toward the regular season? Lindberg. I hope he warns a spot right out of camp.
    How many games should Biron start in the preseason? Half. Get the rhythm.
    What is the greater need entering the regular season: improved special teams or physicality? Special teams.
    Will Mats Zuccarello be a Ranger for the entire season? Yes
    Brian Boyle or Dom Moore? Moore right now but Boyle seems determined for something bigger this year.
    Who will be the second highest goal scorer on the Rangers (assuming Nash delivers)? Brad Richards.

  4. RangerSmurf says:

    Who cares. It’s preseason.
    Special teams. Goals > Hits
    Yes, easily so.
    Both. Boyle can play wing.

  5. Gary says:

    1. Lindberg
    2. Don’t know or much care (pre-season)
    3. Physicality
    4. I think so, he’s grown (figuratively anyway)
    5. Moore, by a teeny
    6. Brassard (dark horse guess, Step more likely)

  6. WilliamW says:

    – Kreider as I think he’ll prove himself by mid season
    – 2 more. Would like to see Talbot split one with him though
    – Physicality. Need to be able to bang with the Bruins / Kings if the league
    – I hope so. Think Kristo is the one who could take his spot
    – Brian Boyle. His contributions are underrated by most
    – Brassard. Wouldn’t be shocked to see him on Nash’s line if BR struggles

  7. Dave says:

    1 – I’ve been raving about Lindberg for a year or so now, looking forward to seeing him.
    2 – At least 1 (Talbot – 1, Hank – 2)
    3 – Powerplay. A 2-3% jump puts them at respectability. Physicality will be there.
    4 – Yes.
    5 – That’s incredibly tough. I want to see how Moore does with the zone starts Boyle was getting.
    6 – Nash, then Richards

  8. The Suit says:

    1- Lindberg, but I’ll reserve judgment until I see him in person
    2- Hoping Biron starts 25, think Hank will need some rest in an Olympic year
    3- The Rangers will need both PP goals and physicality. You need balance to win a Cup.
    4- Zukes is trade bait IMO
    5- Think Moore fits AV’s style better than Brian Boyle
    6- Cally, so long as he’s used properly

  9. Ray says:

    1. Lindberg of course
    2. One more
    3. improved special teams
    4. probably not. He is such an attractive trade target and will net a good return unlike most of the guys people want to trade. And we’ve already seen that AV doesn’t get him (thinks Brass and Pouliot have great chemistry, doesn’t know that the two guys who play with Zuc always have great chemistry with each other)
    5. ??
    6. Richards

  10. Ray says:

    One thing you didn’t muse about. With Cally and Hagelin out for a short time, the salary cap is a problem in the short term. Simple solution – don’t sign Stepan until they are ready to return. Is that the plan?

      • Ray says:

        I believe the Rangers can deal with it, but I don’t agree there is no problem.

        If the Rangers sign Stepan and send Johnson to Hartford, they will be over the cap with 13 healthy forwards, 7 healthy defensemen, Cally and Hagelin. Assuming they don’t want to put either Cally or Hags on LTIR because they don’t expect them to miss much, they have to reduce salary.

        The problem can be solved by carrying fewer players (than they want to carry!) or by carrying cheaper players, but it is still a problem.

        They can’t just solve it by sending Asham and Powe to Hartford because that leaves them with only eleven forwards. Sending Falk to Hartford means waivers I think and the risk of losing him.

        The easiest solution is to send Asham and Powe to Hartford and carry Lindberg as a 12th forward. If they give Stepan $3,870,000, they just get under the cap. Replace Lindberg with Kristo and you only have $3,330,000 for Stepan. And you can forget about a 13th forward —

        except, what if one of the twelve forwards has to miss the first two games, what then? You don’t want to force Callahan to miss ten games if he only needs to miss three. Could be safer to not sign Stepan.

        Am I missing something? Is there some rule that you can go over the cap for a few days if you make it up later?

  11. AD says:

    It is only 2 games into the pre-season and the frequency with which reporters are talking about the team and specific players doing better “under a new coach” is making my stomach turn.

    I think a reminder is in order for all taking silly pot shots or making excuses for player performance under Tortorella: he was our most successful coach in quite a long time! Not to mention the fact the numerous players attribute their success in recent years to Tortorella (Prust, Boyle, McDonagh, Stepan, Stralman). The fact is Tortorella is very good in developing his players; his record speaks for itself.

    And the notion that AV is somehow going to vastly improve this team because “coming to the rink is more fun” is just ludicrous.

    Quit the belly aching about Tortorella and making excuses for players — under Tortorella, this team and his players over-achieved, whereas in Vancouver most will tell you they under-achieved.

    • Ben says:

      We gotta talk any speculate wildly about something…

      I was a Torts fan, too, but it’s over. Let’s move on. What will AV bring to this team now that he’s here? That’s the question.

      • AD says:

        That certainly is the question and I haven’t heard one concrete thing that AV would add to the team that translates into more wins, with the exception of an improved power play. That would be a big improvement, no doubt, but it seems to overlook the fact we do not have the Sedins on this team.

        All other talk pertaining to AV, players with more smiles on their faces, and a more loose locker-room has nothing to do with winning hockey games.

        The fact is Tortorella came to make a run for the Cup last year and the players failed the organization by showing up only the last 20 games of the season.