• Prospects of the Week
By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
There is one thing Chris Kreider
has done consistently since the Rangers selected him in the first round of the 2009 draft.
That one thing Kreider does is win.
Last year, Kreider helped both the United States capture the gold medal at the 2010 World Junior Championship tournament and Boston College win the NCAA Division I hockey championship as an 18-year-old freshman.
Earlier this year,Kreider played a major role in Team USA securing a bronze medal at the World Junior Championships -- the first time that the U.S. had ever medaled in consecutive years. And just last week, he earned Most Valuable Player honors in leading BC to its second straight title in the prestigious Beanpot Tournament held at the TD Garden in Boston.
|Rangers 2009 first-rounder Chris Kreider has had much to celebrate in the two seasons with Boston College and Team USA since his draft year and is getting closer to a remarkably promising pro career. |
“Certainly I want to be thought of as a winner,” said Kreider, who turns 20 on April 30. “I play the game to win. Whether it’s a one-on-one battle in practice or it’s the Beanpot or the World Juniors or a championship game, I play to compete and win.”
Kreider’s reputation as a winner has some serious momentum already, and it gathered even more steam last week when he helped lead Boston College to a pair of overtime victories in the Beanpot Tournament. In the classic final against Northeastern University, he stepped up by scoring a pair of goals and assisting on the overtime game-winner in a thrilling 7-6 Eagles’ victory.
His performance in the final game solidified his selection as tournament MVP.
“It was definitely an honor to be named MVP, but at the same time I grew up dreaming about winning the Beanpot, not the MVP award,” said Kreider, the Boxford, Mass., native. “It was icing on the cake to win the MVP, but I really wanted to get my hands on the Beanpot.”
So excited was he to get his hands on the Beanpot that Kreider nearly fumbled the Most Valuable Player trophy as he placed it on the bench.
“I was hurrying to put (the trophy) on the bench, but they’re kind of small benches at the TD Garden, and it kind of fell off and I had to lunge to grab it,” Kreider said with a laugh. “I just handed it off then so I could go out and celebrate with my teammates.”
Although disappointed that he could not help the United States win a second consecutive gold medal this past January at the World Junior Championships, Kreider has come to appreciate what Team USA accomplished the past two years, and how fortunate he is to have been a part of it.
“It’s a huge honor to have medaled two years in a row because no U.S. team had ever done that,” said Kreider, who recorded four goals and six points total in this year’s WJC. “It’s definitely important in the scheme of things for USA Hockey. We wanted that gold medal again, and it was bittersweet to win the bronze. But in the end, I am proud of what we accomplished.”
With all of the success he has achieved since being selected 19th overall by the Rangers back on June 26, 2009, there has been much speculation as to when Kreider will turn pro.
Rangers head coach John Tortorella expressed last week his hope that Kreider would sign with the club this upcoming off-season “so that we can get him into learning the pro game and integrate him in the Rangers’ organization as quickly as possible”.
However, Kreider is not going to concern himself with the prospect of turning pro or returning for a third year at Boston College until this current season is over. Right now he is more concerned with trying to help BC win a second consecutive national championship.
“I am so focused on the here and now,” said Kreider, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 217 pounds. “If I start looking ahead, I won’t be able to perform. Right now I am not focused on the decisions I will have to make down the road.”
Kreider is very aware of how the young core of players is growing with the Rangers, and he has taken great notice of how former college stars Derek Stepan
and Ryan McDonagh
are currently faring at the NHL level in their rookie seasons.
It is clear that Kreider can one day soon envision himself joining the talented youthful mix on the Rangers.
“I definitely follow the organization and how it’s doing,” said Kreider. “It’s been fun to follow guys from college that I know like Step and McDonagh. They are both doing great, which is no surprise because they are both great players and great people. It’s an exciting young group that the Rangers have put together.”