Rangers put Chris Kreider in AHL

NEW YORK -- Chris Kreider has been sent back to the New York Rangers' AHL affiliate in Hartford, and the 22-year-old winger played in the Connecticut Whale's game against Portland on Friday night.

It's believed the Rangers would like to see Kreider, a healthy scratch in Thursday's 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Islanders, playing AHL games rather than watching NHL games from the press box.

Kreider remains one of the team's top young prospects, but coach John Tortorella repeatedly has stressed the need to be cautious with his development. Although the former Boston College standout was an unexpected star of the playoffs last spring, he has struggled so far this season.

The former first-round pick in the 2009 draft (19th overall), Kreider has been limited to one goal and one assist in seven games for the Rangers this year. He also missed one game as a healthy scratch and four games with an ankle injury.

Before the lockout ended, Kreider had five goals and seven assists in 33 games for the Whale.

Meanwhile, it appears all but certain that fellow top prospect J.T. Miller will remain with the Rangers for now. If the 19-year-old Miller plays Sunday against the Washington Capitals, it will be his sixth NHL game, which will trigger the first year of his entry-level contract.

It is believed the Rangers will continue to evaluate Miller on a game-to-game basis, however. Although that his contract will not slide, the organization won't rule out sending him back down if he struggles to keep up with the pace of the NHL.