Last week, while talking with Sam Rosen, John Tortorella said that the struggles Chris Kreider was going through in the early part of the season were expected and he likened the situation to that of Michael Del Zotto who struggled in his second season with the Rangers.
Tortorella said of Kreider, 21, “he is a kid. He came on with a splash. We saw it happen with Michael Del Zotto. Then there are some struggles. We are teaching, showing lots of video, explaining how we play, learning to understand the speed of the game. Struggles are to be expected. When you start going through the grind of a regular season there are going to be situations where he needs to learn the game. This doesn’t surprise me. We are not down on him but we need to make the right decisions as we go through the process.
Del Zotto made the Rangers out of training camp as a 19 year old and was a minus 20 while scoring nine goals and adding 27 assists.
His second season saw him struggle and be sent to Hartford before rebounding last year with 10 goals, 31 assists and a plus 20 rating.
Kreider has played three games for the Rangers this season and averaged 9:22 with one shot on goal, two hits and three blocks.
Adam Rotter: John Tortorella tried to temper the hype on Kreider during the playoffs because while he scored five goals, he was “god-awful” on defense in certain situations. The key with Kreider, as it was with waiting for him to leave college, is patience. Some prospects take to the pro game quicker than others and with the Rangers system, there is clearly a learning curve. If this was an 82 game season then I think Rangers keep him in the NHL, let him make mistakes and learn the game that way. With this shortened season where we have already seen John Tortorella shorten the bench in the first period, it may be better for Kreider to be in Hartford and have a big role, play in all situations and develop down there.