Given the current lack of offense and the injuries to key players, the Rangers may be very tempted to promote Danny Kristo from the AHL for a short term fix. Kristo is off to a very exciting start with six goals and nine points in his first nine games as a member of the Wolf Pack who, despite routinely losing players to the needy Rangers, have started out very well with a six wins in their first nine games.
Kristo has already grabbed four powerplay goals and has proven to be an offensive weapon for the ‘Pack. Kristo however is likely to be allowed to build on his fast start and deliver some extended consistency. Given what Kristo offers to a team there simply isn’t room in New York despite the injuries. With the progression Kreider and Miller have begun to show, and their extra familiarity with the organisation, they are in the box seat in terms of staying in New York and Kristo would be wasted as a bottom six guy in New York.
When Rick Nash and Ryan Callahan return their will be even less space in the line up and hopefully in the short term, Carl Hagelin’s return can positively affect the Rangers’ scoring woes. With those three players in the mix and with the current crop still being entrusted to produce, Kristo would be well advised to pile up the points in Hartford. Artem Anisimov is a great reference point for prospects in this franchise. While he was racking up points for the Wolf Pack many fans were begging for Anisimov to be brought up quicker than he was.
When Anisimov was eventually brought up for good, he was ready for a spot in the line-up and just as importantly, there was a space made for him. Anisimov has since solidified himself as a consistent NHL forward and is off to a good start this year for the Blue Jackets with 7 points in 11 games. Kristo, while a different player to Anisimov, could be in line for a similarly frustrating time as a young pro, this year. He may feel ready but his NHL opportunity very likely won’t come this season.
Next season their promises to be more opportunity. Given his contract, Brad Richards is likely an ex-Ranger in the summer (despite his fine season to date) while Derick Brassard, Brian Boyle, Mats Zuccarello and Taylor Pyatt to name a few have yet to cement their futures with the Rangers. With a dominant year in the AHL, Kristo would be better prepared for a long term future with the Rangers than if he was commuting between the AHL and NHL all season long. Kristo’s season will be an intriguing one to follow.