May 28, 2012, 3:05 PM EST
While John Tortorella was pleased with Chris Kreider‘s NHL debut, he was hesitant to predict the 20-year-old’s future.
“He’s going to go through the process,” the Rangers head coach said of his prized rookie on Monday. “Who knows what happens next year with him.”
It’s pretty clear Torts is tempering expectations, which could be sky high given what Kreider did this postseason: Five goals in 18 games, breaking a 59-year-old NHL record, etc. etc.
Kreider also has plenty to learn, something Tortorella pointed out prior to Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals. He admitted letting Kreider’s defensive lapses and errors in judgment slide because he didn’t want to “screw him up.”
“We’re not doing a lot of teaching and a lot of structure with him. It’s just the wrong time,” he told NorthJersey.com. “There’s enough things going through his head where we just want him to play. He’s had some breakdowns away from the puck. Those are things we’ve tried to teach a little bit but not too much.
“This is instinctive. He’s an instinctive player. We’re just trying to let him go.”
Translation: Instinctive for now is fine. But if Kreider’s with us next season, we’ll be teaching him plenty.
That, combined with the potential for a sophomore slump, is probably why Torts said what he did. He also clearly doesn’t want the media running wild with pro-Kreider stories…even though they already have.
“You guys have him playing 22 minute on the first line with some of the articles you write,” he said.
- Trade: Rangers land Yandle, Coyotes receive Duclair, first-rounder 67
- Trade: Capitals land Glencross, Flames get two picks 23
- Flames place Giordano on IR 5
- Flyers keep faint playoff hopes alive with win over Rangers 28
- Trade: Blackhawks acquire Vermette from Arizona for Dahlbeck, first rounder 74
- Jagr earns high praise in his Panthers debut 1
- Bruins maintain four-point edge in playoff race, hand Coyotes ninth straight loss 5
- NHL on NBC: Rangers look for a fourth straight win against the Flyers 7
- Ducks score four third-period goals, come back to beat rival Kings 9
- Blackhawks aren’t done talking trades, will look to add another forward 13
- Wild beat Avs, dying seconds fight set stage for rematch (149)
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (82)
- Trade: Blackhawks acquire Vermette from Arizona for Dahlbeck, first rounder (74)
- Report: Alex Petrovic avoids discipline after injuring Patrick Kane (69)
- Trade: Rangers land Yandle, Coyotes receive Duclair, first-rounder (67)