Miller to Join Whale for Playoffs

April 18, 2012

According to Larry Brooks of the NY Post, New York Rangers 2011 first-round pick J.T. Miller will join the Connecticut Whale (AHL) for their playoff matchup against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, which begins Friday night.

In 61 games with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League, Miller scored 25 goals and 62 points.

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Rangers Sign Kreider

April 10, 2012

The waiting game is over.

The New York Rangers today announced it came to terms with 2009 first-round pick Chris Kreider on an entry-level deal. According to the NY Post, the deal is worth $1.3 million per year.

Although the deal is for three years, the first year will be burned due to Kreider joining the team immediately. He is expected to be at practice tomorrow as the Rangers prepare for their opening round matchup against the Ottawa Senators.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound forward shined at Boston College where he won two National Championships in three years. He finished his junior season with 23 goals and 45 points in 43 games, as well as had success in World Championship tournaments.

He’s finally signed, but now what do they do with him. Personally, I’d like to see him in the lineup by Game 2 Saturday. Sure he doesn’t know the system, but let him play Mats Zuccarello-type minutes; four or five minutes at 5-on-5 on the fourth line, and some time on the powerplay. The kid is a dynamic play maker who knows how to win. If anything, he’s an upgrade over John Mitchell who has been invisible over the last two months.

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Report: Kreider to Sign With Rangers

April 9, 2012

Nothing official yet, but according to The Boston College Hockey BlogChris Kreider will forgo his final year at B.C. to sign with the New York Rangers.

Not sure how legitimate the post is or if there is any substance behind it, but that is what is being reported right now. As stated in an earlier post, it is really down to when over if Kreider signs with the Rangers.

There’s nothing left he can prove in college after he won his second National Title in three years at the school. Time for bigger and better things for the former first-round pick.

The question then comes down to whether the Rangers will insert him into the lineup against the Ottawa Senators or have him play the remainder of the season in Connecticut. Personally, I put him into the lineup on the fourth line and let him get his feet wet. Nothing better than having the kid have a handful of playoff games under his belt before he even dresses for a regular season game next season.

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Kreider Still Unsigned

April 9, 2012

Chris Kreider shined at Boston College for three years. Now, the Rangers hope their 2009 first-round pick can shine on Broadway.

Kreider’s collegiate season ended Saturday night when B.C. defeated Ferris State for their second national title in three years. The Rangers can sign him at any point.

But as of 7 pm Monday, Kreider has not signed on the dotted line. Attribute it to Kreider wanting a little break more than not wanting to play in New York. Several reports indicated a deal could happen as early as tonight, making Kreider eligible to attend practice tomorrow as the team readies itself for the Ottawa Senators in the first round of the playoffs.

I’m not sure where I stand on the Kreider situation. I think it would better suit him to head to Connecticut over jumping into the lineup and play in a system he knows little or nothing about in the playoffs. I do think this kid is going to be the real deal, so let him take the rest of the year in the AHL and save the one year on the entry level contract.

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Kreider Could Join Organization in April

February 12, 2012

Things are good in Ranger land these days, but they could be even better come April.

According to Jeff Botta at the New York Times, the Rangers could sign top prospect Chris Kreider to a professional contract as early as April when his season at Boston College finishes up.

The Rangers’ 2009 first-round pick has 18 goals and 33 points in 26 games this season, and has grown from a 6-foot 1 inch, 205-pound freshman to a 6-3 225-pound junior.

“I’ve made some pretty big strides,” Kreider said to the Times. “I’m learning from a great coaching staff here, so I’m just trying to take advantage of that. I’m continuing to work on puck protection, getting my shot off in traffic and in tight areas, disguising my shot more, shooting off the rush.”

Botta said NHL scouts predict Kreider to be a 30-goal scorer in the League, with results coming right away. He added Kreider has similar speed to that of Rangers rookie Carl Hagelin, who won the fastest skater competition at last month’s All Star game.

The lone setback to signing Kreider and inserting him into the big club’s lineup for the end of the season and playoffs is that even if he plays just one game, it counts as a year off his entry-level contract.

Reading Botta’s piece put a smile on my face, one that is hard to take off. This kid seems like he’s going to be the real deal in the NHL. The Rangers are in a position right now they haven’t been in for years; not only is the team a legitimate championship contender, the future is as bright as its ever been. Someone pinch me.

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Wolski, Woywitka Sent to AHL For Conditioning

February 2, 2012

The Rangers today announced forward Wojtek Wolski and defenseman Jeff Woywitka would be sent to the Connecticut Whale (AHL) for two-week conditioning stints, as neither have played much over the past months.

Wolski, 24, has had an awful season and cannot play himself back into the lineup. Hampered in training camp with groin injuries, the winger has appeared in just nine games this season, and has played just three games since returning from sports hernia surgery late last month. He’s been a healthy scratch the past six games.

Wolski makes $3.8 million this year, and the Rangers are desperately trying to move him, but his worth is pretty low right now. At best, the team could maybe get a mid-level prospect or draft pick for him, but at this point its better than nothing.

Woywitka is a curious case, as his replacement Stu Bickel has really cooled off since his quick start with the big club in December. At this point, I’d give the nod to Woywitka over Bickel, and it is obvious once Steve Eminger returns in the next two to three weeks from a shoulder injury, Bickel will be the victim of a numbers game.

Andrew Gross at Rangers Rants said the team is more inclined to keep Bickel around, probably because he would be claimed faster than Woywitka, whom the team claimed off the wire earlier in the season. Bickel would be the seventh defenseman, with Anton Stralman staying with the team.

Big fall from grace for me in regards to Wolski, whom I had penciled in on the first-line with Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards in training camp. I’ll admit, I sure was wrong.


Rangers forward Mike Rupp appears to have suffered a broken thumb as a result of a slash Tuesday night against the New Jersey Devils from Eric Boulton. Boulton was fined $2,500 from the NHL.

Aaron Voros was released from his professional tryout with the Whale. He finished with three goals and 10 points in 23 games.

Rangers Excited For J.T. Miller

January 22, 2012

Newsday‘s Steve Zipay today gave a little preview into what Ranges fans and the organization itself should expect from 2011 first-round pick J.T. Miller, who is playing with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL.

The 6-1, 200 pound center has amassed 40 points in 38 games this season, while missing seven games to play in the World Junior Championships earlier this month.

The comparisons should make Rangers fans very excited to see the kid play. “He has Tonelli-type tenacity,” said Gordie Clark, the team’s director of player personnel, referring to the Islanders’ John Tonelli, who won four Stanley Cups with the team in the 1980s. “Mike Richards is another good comparison, although Richards probably scores more. J.T. is a playmaker who finishes every check. He doesn’t have that beautiful stride like [Marian] Gaborik. He beats you by outworking you.”

Zipay points out that the Rangers have built a core of American born players, and Miller, from East Palestine, Ohio, could join that group once he comes to New York, maybe a year or two away. The team currently has seven U.S.-born players in the lineup, and the organization’s top prospect, Chris Kreider, will be turning pro this summer and could make the lineup out of camp next season.

Miller signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Rangers this summer.

A lot of people were confused as to why the Rangers took Miller so early (15th) in first-round, but it appears he’s the type of player the organization has been building around. He plays a hard-nosed, North American style game, which has become this team’s identity. Along with Kreider, I can’t wait to see Miller on Broadway in the coming years.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia