by Corey Pronman
New York Rangers received Danny Kristo, Right Wing:
Kristo was a First-Team All American in the NCAA West and a finalist for the Hobey Baker for top college player in the country. He also appeared for the USA at the World Championships. He’s a very skilled offensive forward who can show good to great skating ability and offensive skill. His playmaking looked better this season and he works hard at both ends. He’s a smaller winger who hasn’t been able to build up strength well.
Kristo, who just turned 23, is arguably NHL ready or somewhat close to making the jump. He becomes one of the Rangers top prospects and could be a decent addition soon for a power play that hasn’t been the best.
Montreal Canadiens received Christian Thomas, Right Wing:
Thomas is an interesting prospect and is the son of Steve Thomas. He’s small at 5′9′’170 but plays with energy and has a physical element to his game. He’s a quick skater, with above-average skill but his best tool is his shot. “He’s a pure goal scorer” said one NHL scout as Thomas scores goals in all kinds of ways be it going to the net or long distance snipes. His counting numbers in his rookie AHL season were just decent, but Thomas’ ice time was low during the lockout and got more power play time in the second half. His offensive abilities aren’t as dynamic as Kristo’s but he can make plays although at times will be tunnel visioned.
There had been indications that Montreal wasn’t really high on Kristo be it for talent or character issues. An example of the latter was when their GM Marc Bergevin questioned Kristo’s off-ice decisions.
On pure talent Kristo is a better prospect than Christian Thomas. That’s not to say Thomas is a poor prospect as he has character, offensive ability and he could be an average to above-average pro. However Kristo is arguably a top 100 drafted prospect in hockey with significant upside even if he does carry more risk than Thomas. In a one for one deal, it’s hard to make a perfectly equal trade and one team usually comes out ahead. In my opinion it was the Rangers.