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Chris Kreider Joins Rangers In Time For Postseason — But Will He Play?

(credit: J. Meric/Getty Images)

(credit: J. Meric/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – What a week it’s been for NCAA star — er, make that NHL rookie — Chris Kreider.

A new face at Rangers practice Wednesday, the 20-year-old forward got his first exposure to the league and the playoffs one day after leaving Boston College to sign his first pro contract.

Whether he will be just an observer in this postseason or has a chance to get into the lineup remains to be seen. But the Rangers are impressed by his speed, and he did just win an NCAA Frozen Four title last week.

“We’re happy he’s here and he’s a Ranger,” head coach John Tortorella said. “From there, we go day by day. I’m not going to tell you our lineups. But this is a young man that we feel has a great future, and it started with us today.”

The top-seeded Blueshirts will begin their quest for the Stanley Cup on Thursday against the pesky Ottawa Senators.

In three years at Boston College, Kreider — the Rangers’ first-round pick in the 2009 draft (No. 19 overall) — captured two championships. He led his team in both goals (23) and points (45) this season.

“They definitely sent the message if you want to play you’re going to have to prove you’re ready to play and you’re going to have to earn your ice time, which is the way I think it should be,” Kreider said. “No expectations coming in, I’m just going to try to be a sponge.”

Tuesday on WFAN, Rangers forward Brian Boyle praised Kreider, saying he would prove to be “a good player in the league.” But he was hesitant to speculate whether the amateur standout would make a difference — or even have a chance to play — in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“It couldn’t hurt to bring him along and kind of show him, get him used to the team,” Boyle told Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton.

Do you think Kreider is ready for the NHL playoff pressure-cooker? Sound off below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)