Steve Zipay at Newsday ran into Chris Kreider (broken left hand) in the Rangers locker room yesterday and reports that while the 22-year old forward is dying to play he’s still not close.
Those close to the team have put Kreider’s return somewhere in the second round if the Rangers are able to advance past the Flyers.
…when you lose a significant piece of your offense, you’d assume there’d be a letdown in team performance. But since Kreider went out of the line-up on March 24th, the Rangers are 6-2-1 (including Game 1), while averaging 2.8 goals per game. Which is up from their season average of 2.61.
…now I’m not suggesting the Rangers have proven to be better off without the Boston College product, but to me this is a testament to the depth of the Rangers organization that even when they lose someone with the impact of a Kreider they’re able to substitute the next guy in line without much, if any, drop off. This is very similar to the New England Patriots, which should be the model for every professional sports franchise. Sorry Jets fans.
…having said all that, if the Rangers can get past the Flyers, getting Kreider back for the next round would be a huge lift, especially if they’re matched up against the high flying Penguins where team speed is going to be a huge factor.