John Tortorella said on Tuesday, via the Daily News, that the team was getting good reports on Kreider, but while he is scoring goals, there are still things that the Whale coaching staff want to work with him on.
He said that the team has discussed bringing Kreider back, but they don’t want to keep “knee-jerking him back and forth” and that when they bring him back up, “he’s ready to play.”
Tortorella added, “We’re dying to get a guy that’s 6-3, 6-4 that can skate like hell into our lineup, but we’re not going to do it at the expense of him and hurting him as far as we try to develop him.”
Since being sent down to the Whale at the end of February, Chris Kreider has six goals in eight games.
The 25 shots that he has in eight games are the most he has had in a month, and that includes 14 games in December where he only had 21 shots and 11 games in November where he had 24 shots.
Of his six goals in the last eight games:
three have come on the power play
one came on a breakaway
FIVE came from going to the net or being around the net
Kreider had FIVE goals in his first 34 games.
In the NY Post, Larry Brooks writes that the Rangers should only call up Kreider, who need his speed and skill, if John Tortorella “allows the kid to breathe and play without fear of benching or banishment with every mistake.”
He adds “a recall only makes sense if Kreider slots into an offensive role that includes power play time.”
Brooks says that everyone on the team has been allowed to fail except for Kreider and that Kreider is having a difficult time earning the trust of Tortorella.
Adam Rotter: It’s really encouraging that he has scored more goals in the last eight games than he did in his first 34 games. He has found his scoring touch down there but without actually watching him play, it’s hard to know how his overall game has progressed. The Whale have 19 games left and are pushing for the playoffs as well. If it was up to me, I think I would let him stay in Hartford, play big minutes, score/work on his game, and finish strong with an idea of making an impact at training camp next season.
Last Thursday, the Rangers sent Chris Kreider down to Hartford.
Before the Rangers beat Tampa Bay on Thursday, John Tortorella spoke about the decision to send Kreider down, “I think Chris has a lot to learn about the game, a lot to learn in how to be a pro. This isn’t shocking to me. He has a tremendous amount of attributes to be a really good player it’s a matter of putting them all together. Me playing him four minutes or six minutes is not going to help him.”
In the Daily News, Chris Kreider spoke about how playing in the NHL varies from playing in the AHL.
Kreider said that one thing he learned was that he could throw a hard body check in the NHL and not be called for a penalty like he was in college and earlier this season in the AHL.
In terms of physical play, Kreider said “at this level when you’re in the process of hitting guys, if their hands are free, they’re going to make a play. So I’ve got to get stick to puck. It’s about being cognizant of that, but it’s also stuff I know I can do. I just have to focus on it.”
John Tortorella has said that he wants Kreider to focus on holding onto pucks and Kreider said that that had been a big focus of his game in the past so he knows he can do that.