The big winger, whose skating has had scouts raving and the Rangers hoping he’d leave school early for well over a year, will join the team for practice tomorrow.
However, the organizational plan is to go slowly with Kreider, who finished his junior season and is near an early graduation. He is not expected to be able to actually get into a playoff game straight out of college … though that could obviously change if the Rangers have injuries, or if Kreider blows away the coaches in practice (unlikely), or if something unforeseen happens.
But the Rangers have taken the steps needed to be sure Kreider is eligible to be on the playoff roster, and GM Glen Sather has said that he believes Kreider can play in the NHL right out of school
Rangers coach John Tortorella is very rigid in his loyalty to his lineup, and in his belief in what each of his players brings. He’s not likely to want to replace one of his regulars with a newcomer, unless special circumstances dictate doing so.
Recent college players have made the Rangers, but none jumping directly into the fire. Ryan McDonagh and Carl Hagelin each spent time in the minors first, and Derek Stepan had a full off-season and training camp, in which he made the team without playing in the minor leagues.
Kreider went 23-22-45 in 43 games for Boston College this season. By signing, Kreider burns a year of his entry-level contract, meaning he’ll be a year closer to restricted free agency and arbitration eligibility.
I will update with the official announcement from the team.
AP photo, above.