People who know prospects like Kristo’s potential.
I’m intrigued with the Danny Kristo trade. I’m intrigued at the possibility of Glen Sather ripping off the Canadiens again and I’m intrigued at the timing of it all. A prospect – apparently pro ready – coming to a team with cup aspirations, at a time where there’s positions up for grabs. What to make of it all?
We thought we’d ask a couple of people who have great insight with prospects and the US national program for their takes on Kristo. Does he have the talent to make an immediate NHL impact? It’s always worth gauging opinion. Chris Peters of United States of Hockey and Jess Rubenstein from Prospect Park both have must read blogs and are great follows for prospect information. They both took time out to provide an insight into Kristo and the whole deal that no one really saw coming.
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Glen Sather continues to be busy in the trade market, making his third trade in three days. This time, he sent 2010 second round pick Christian Thomas to Montreal for 2008 second round pick Danny Kristo. Last season with Hartford, Thomas put together a line of 19-16-35, but was very inconsistent while adapting to the higher speed of the AHL.
Kristo, a 5’11, 185 lb forward who just finished his senior year at the University of North Dakota, put together a line of 26-26-52 in his senior season. Kristo has a World Junior Gold (2010), an NCAA Championship (2010), and a WCHA rookie of the year (2010). Per Habs Eyes on the Prize, Kristo is very skilled, fast, and gritty. But his development path was a shaky one, as rarely do players stay in college through their senior year, and Kristo’s size and strength have been questioned regularly.
This is a bit of a surprising trade, as it was believed that the organization was very high on Thomas. However, the organization was once high on Ethan Werek, and they sent him packing for the highly touted Oscar Lindberg. I don’t know much about Kristo, but I like what I’ve read so far.
Leslie Treff at Hockeys Future noted that his off ice issues kept his value low, but he’s worked on those and is now more mature (Note: The “no maturity” is a typo that she clarifies in her next tweet), and still has that high end skill that could make him an interesting player to watch as camp begins in September. Corey Pronman also thinks the Rangers got better in this deal.
(Scott Levy/NHLI/Getty Images)
Acting GM Jeff Gorton is on record as saying the Rangers plan to be aggressive on the trade market to try to improve the club by the April 3rd trade deadline. Marian Gaborik is obviously the biggest name being floated in rumors, but it’s difficult to find a good fit and it’s probably more likely than not that Gabby finishes the season with the Blueshirts. That said, it’s common knowledge that New York would like to add a top-four defenseman and a top-nine forward to help replenish the depth that was lost during the offseason and has crippled the team all season.
With so many teams still in playoff contention in this lockout-shortened season, trade prices appear to be sky high, even for rentals. So who could New York offer in trade packages over the coming weeks outside of Gaborik?
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The Rangers returned Christian Thomas to the AHL today following practice. Returning Thomas was a paperwork thing, as Darroll Powe returned to practice, and was presumably taken off IR. In his one game –his NHL debut– Thomas played a little under 13 minutes, and finished with 2 shots and 3 hits.
The Rangers also sent Scott Stajcer back to the ECHL.
Time for McIlrath to put the sweater on? (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
With the injuries mounting in New York and the likes of Stu Bickel and Steve Eminger clearly not enjoying the trust of John Tortorella, could we see first round pick and great white hope, Dylan McIlrath rushed to New York? With a nickname like the Undertaker and a (listed) 6-5, 220 lb frame, McIlrath has the potential to be an imposing defenseman.
As seen by the recent inclusion of Christian Thomas, and to a lesser extent Chris Kreider and JT Miller, readiness may not be the priority but rather the necessity of numbers and positional relevance. If you’re going to have to fill the roster you may as well fill it with players with upside. Clearly the Rangers hope Dylan McIlrath will fulfill his talent and draft status in upcoming seasons. He may get a chance sooner rather than later.
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There was a lot going on today in Rangerland, and there may be some significant roster changes for tonight’s game. Per Andrew Gross, the Rangers are dealing with the following injuries/lineup changes:
- Arron Asham is out with back spasms. Christian Thomas has been recalled to take his roster spot.
- To make room for Thomas, Rick Nash has been placed on IR, retroactive to last Saturday.
- Marc Staal has the flu, and is a game time decision.
- Michael Del Zotto is a game time decision with the lower body injury sustained on Thursday.
- Martin Biron is starting tonight.
I think that sums it up at the moment. There’s a lot going on tonight.
In a surprising move, the Rangers recalled F Christian Thomas from the CT Whale on Friday night. With Arron Asham, Darroll Powe and Rick Nash all on the shelf, the Rangers had to play Stu Bickel at forward against Ottawa. The team may be looking to avoid that situation again by giving Thomas a shot at the show.
Thomas has been red hot for the Whale and has posted 13 goals and 11 assists in 52 games this season. He’s obviously an offensive-minded guy and could provide another righty shot on the power play. Lord knows the Blueshirts are desperate for solutions in that department, so why not give Thomas a shot?
The knock on the 20-year-old has always been his size. Drafted as the 40th pick overall in 2010, Thomas tore up the OHL with the Oshawa Generals. He has struggled a bit in the American League until recently and there’s some doubt that Thomas will become an NHL regular largely due to his 5-foot-9, 170 lb. stature.
Are the Whale doing right by the prospects?
Andrew Yogan has one point in 10 games. Marek Hrivik has no goals and five points in 10 games. Key prospects JT Miller and Chris Kreider have a combined 3 goals in 12 and 11 games played, respectively. Alternatively, Brandon Segal (29 years old, 102 NHL games) has eight points in 12 games and Michael Haley (26 years old, 43 NHL games played) has five points in 12 games. The statistics you just read were intended to be a little thought provoking.
Clearly, outside of the odd game here and there or the odd exception (like Christian Thomas’s recent upswing in form, or, for the most part, Kyle Jean) it is the veterans and players with little realistic NHL future that are being counted on to produce for the Connecticut Whale so far this season. All of this begs the question; what should be the priority for the Whale: on ice success or prospect development?
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Can Thomas Jr follow his father in to the NHL? Time is ticking.
It may seem incredibly harsh to suggest Christian Thomas’ time as a legitimate prospect is expiring. However such is the media scrutiny on each individual performance, the impatience of fans and media alike, not to mention the enviable depth the Rangers enjoy that it’s a very real possibility that Christian Thomas is running out of time to make it at the NHL level with the Rangers.
Thomas has been eagerly anticipated by Rangers fans. He was considered a potential cure-all for a club that struggled to score goals; anticipated especially given his blood lines (an overrated obsession in North American sports) and his OHL junior career that was littered with impressive goal scoring seasons. Something however, happened a long the way. Whether it was the drafting of guys such as JT Miller or the accelerated development of Chris Kreider, Thomas has been a little forgotten about. It hasn’t helped him that the Rangers have continued to unearth prospects such as Marek Hrivik and Kyle Jean.
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Kyle Jean has popped up on everyone’s radar.
It’s fair to say that when Kyle Jean tried out for the Rangers almost every Ranger fan didn’t have an idea about the young try-out nor were expectations particularly high. After all, try outs come and go in their dozens and rarely does one stick with a club let alone make some noise. So its fair to say that despite a promising pre-season its come as a surprise to many that Jean has exploded into the AHL season with the Whale grabbing 9 points in 7 games while leading several more eagerly anticipated prospects in scoring a long the way.
Prior to making the Whale, Jean played college hockey and while his numbers for the CCHA’s Lake Superior were solid (38 points in 77 games), they were certainly not stand out from the crowd worthy. Indeed, Jean at 22 is not even particularly young for a prospect. So what is there to like about him at first glance? Physically, Jean has great size at 6’3 and 205 lbs and is a left-handed shot. He is also more than willing to put the puck on net at any given opportunity and looks to finish. You can never have enough goal scoring and it’s certainly something the Rangers want more of – hence Mr R. Nash’s acquisition.
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