Chris Kreider is expected to be out 4-6 weeks for the New York Rangers with a fractured ankle.
"We're obviously hopeful sooner than later," Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton told NHL Network at the general managers meetings in Boca Raton, Florida, on Wednesday. "But I think with these things, it's weight bearing when you break your foot. I think if you look over time, some of the people who have had the same type of injury, you're looking at 4-6 weeks as probably realistic.
"I know that Chris is looking at it as is he going to be back sooner. If you see what kind of condition he is, his work ethic, it's hard to bet against him. So hopefully sooner than that and we'll take one game at a time without him."
The Rangers (35-27-4) are 0-2-0 without Kreider, who left a 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Feb. 28 after blocking a shot from defenseman Philippe Myers with 7:40 remaining in the first period. Kreider went to the bench and played one more shift that lasted 10 seconds.
Kreider has 45 points (24 goals, 21 assists) in 63 games this season, including 32 points (18 goals, 14 assists) in 35 games since Dec. 8. The 28-year-old forward agreed to terms on a seven-year contract worth $6.5 million per season Feb. 24. He could have become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
"Chris is a core piece," Gorton said. "We felt like it was a priority to keep him and move forward with him in our group. At his age, the way he keeps himself in condition, his production, the way he skates, he's tailor-made for the NHL. That was important to us."
The Rangers, who are four points behind the New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, host the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, NBCSWA, NHL.TV).