There was more than one reason for the top people from the Rangers front office to travel with the team up to Boston on Monday. Sure, the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers were set to play the second-seeded Bruins Tuesday night at TD Garden, but there was another game Monday night that held their collecvtive interest, as well.
On Monday night Boston College, featuring the Rangers 2009 first-round draft pick Chris Kreider, faced Boston University for the Beanpot Tournament championship, and all eyes of the Blueshirts brass were on their prized prospect.
And, once again, Kreider did not disappoint.
Kreider scored a power play goal and assisted on a shorthanded goal, while firing nine shots on goal in total, as Boston College won the Beanpot with a dramatic 3-2 overtime victory over their main rivals, the third year in a row Kreider helped his team win the prestigious tournament.
"It was a great chance for people in our organization who are so busy and don't get to see (Kreider) play that often to be able to see how he responds in a big-time atmosphere," explained Rangers assistant general manager Jeff Gorton. "We know the player really well within our organization, and he's clearly moving in the right direction."
So far this season Kreider, a BC junior, has scored 19 goals and notched 35 points in 30 games for the Eagles, establishing collegiate career-highs in all offensive categories. He leads Boston College in goals and points, and ranks second in Hockey East in goals and is third in points.
"He's a very mature kid playing in a great program," Gorton said. "His game is maturing in his own end (of the ice), which speaks to the type player he is. He is very bright; he is very coachable; and we think he fits with what we are doing with our team, creating a team-first atmosphere."
Gorton also raved about what a physical speciman Kreider has become.
"He has gotten bigger, stronger, and faster," the Rangers assistant general manager said of the 6-foot-3, 225 pound Kreider. "It often looks like he is a man among boys out there. He certainly stands out with how physically mature he is, plus he's a world-class skater. He is a very exciting prospect for us, and what one our fans can most certainly get excited about."
So the question on the mind of every die-hard member of the Blueshirts Faihful is: when will Chris Kreider sign with the Rangers and turn pro?
Gorton does not have a definite answer to that question, but he does share the organizational philosophy regarding that matter.
"We are going to allow the player to come to us when he is ready," explained Gorton. "We supported what he wanted to do (in attending college) right from the start and we'll be there when he's ready to turn pro. We will leave it in his hands, his family's hands, and the hands of his advisors."
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