It has been a busy past three days for the Rangers. Not only did the team add five more prospects through the 2013 NHL Draft on Sunday, but the Rangers made their their third trade in as many days on Tuesday, acquiring high-scoring prospect Danny Kristo from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forward Christian Thomas.
In coming to the Rangers the 23 year-old Kristo will be reunited with Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider and Ryan Bourque---all of whom joined Kristo in helping the United States capture the gold medal at the 2010 World Junior Championships (see photo). Kristo notched five goals and finished with eight points in seven games during the 2010 WJC tournament.
"That was a lot of fun to win against Canada in Canada in overtime in that gold medal game," recalled Kristo on Tuesday evening. "I ended up playing with Stepan and we clicked right away with our chemistry, and our line just took off. Bourqy and I played together before that in the U.S. National Program, too. And Kreider and I were roommates for a little bit. So it's going to be nice going into an organization where you know guys first-hand."
Kristo, who stands six feet tall and weighs 190 pounds, is coming off an excellent senior year at the University of North Dakota, where he was named an NCAA West All American and a Western Collegiate Hockey Association First Team All Star. The 2012-13 College Hockey News Player of the Year, Kristo led the WCHA with a career-high 26 goals, which tied for second in the nation. He also notched a career-best 52 points in 40 games, which tied him for third place in the national scoring race.
"We had a really close senior class, and I was playing with the same linemates the past three years, so I think that really helped me with the year I had, all the goals and the points," explained Kristo, who was originally the Canadiens' second round selection in the 2008 NHL Draft. "I also was able to develop other parts of my game. I had always had the offensive ability, but last year I was also on the first penalty kill unit, and going out in the final minute of games against other team's top lines, and playing over 20 minutes a night. I think that was really beneficial to me as a player."
After completing his four-year career at North Dakota this past spring, Kristo finished with 68 goals, 93 assists and 161 points in 157 games to become the school's first career point-per-game player since current St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie.
Kristo also made his professional debut this past spring once his collegiate career came to an end. He appeared in nine games with the Hamilton Bulldogs, the AHL affiliate of the Canadiens, and recorded three assists.
Despite being "a bit shocked" by Tuesday's trade, Kristo said that he is excited to come to New York, another Original Six organization like Montreal, for what he expects to be "a great opportunity" at September's training camp.
"When you hear that a team and a coaching staff wanted to get you, obviously that gives you a lot of confidence," added Kristo, who will not be taking part in this week's prospects development camp. "I am going to get a huge opportunity here, so I'm going to work as hard as I can and do whatever I can to make those guys believe in me."
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