As the Rangers went through their optional morning skate in preparation for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal against the Capitals on Monday night at Madison Square Garden, Chris Kreider was a hockey world away.

Next season, for the good of player and organization, that gap must be bridged.

The heralded rookie skated with the Rangers' practice squad – a collection of Connecticut (AHL) call-ups – at the team's training facility in Greenburgh, N.Y.

He was a healthy scratch for the second straight playoff game in a season in which he and the organization must be disappointed with his development.

Game 3 is of significance in Kreider's timeline with the Rangers for it was in Game 3 of last year's first-round series against the Senators that the 19th overall pick in the 2009 draft made his NHL debut, signing his three-year, $2.4 million entry-level deal shortly after leading Boston College to its second NCAA title in three years.

Kreider went on to score five goals with two assists in 18 playoff games, an NHL record for playoff goals scored before playing a regular-season game.

Naturally, Kreider was expected to have a major impact on this season's squad but that never became the case. The owner's lockout, which delayed the start of a 48-game season until Jan. 19, denied Kreider his first chance at an NHL training camp.