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Rangers sign former top pick Chris Kreider in time for playoffs

Guest Digityman

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Talk about a late addition to the squad.

Multiple reports, starting with Bob McKenzie of TSN, had the New York Rangers signing their first-round draft choice from 2009 draft Chris Kreider to an entry-level deal on Tuesday. If so, and no reason to believe it's not, he will join the team on Wednesday to begin his NHL career.

Kreider is one of, if not their top prospect. The forward from Boxford, Mass. elected to play college hockey at Boston College, leading the Eagles to the NCAA title this season. They wrapped up the Frozen Four over the weekend in Tampa Bay, beating Ferris State for the title -- the second in Kreider's three seasons at BC. All the while, the Rangers were sitting back and waiting for his season to finish.

One season for him might be done, but a second is about to begin. He is eligible to play in the playoffs and thus burn the first year of his three-year entry-level contract. He could have held out and waited, holding off the entry-level contract one more season before the three years tick down, but it sounds like he's choosing to play now. Or at least join the team now. There's no guarantee that John Tortorella is going to want to throw the rookie into the fire.

That's the question for now, if he does get the chance, can he contribute? Rangers GM Glen Sather stated earlier this year that he thinks Kreider can do so right away, so we'll have to wait and see.

Earlier on Tuesday before the reports surfaced, Rangers forward and fellow BC alumnus Brian Boyle talked about Kreider possibly joining the team now. From Larry Brooks of the New York Post:

"If he comes, we'll welcome him with open arms," the Blueshirts' center told The Post following Tuesday's practice. "He skated with us [in informal workouts] before camp opened, he's a good kid, and if he can come in here and wants to help us, why not?

"It's got to be tough for him, too. It's the biggest decision of his life up to this point. But if he comes, we'll make him feel at home."

In 44 games this season for the Eagles, Kreider had 45 points on 23 goals and 22 assists, obviously playing a very key role in the team's dominant title run.

Kreider also represented Team USA in both 2010 and 2011 for the World Junior Championships team as well as the World Championships team, winning a gold medal with the Juniors in 2010.

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