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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service, Published July 02 2013

Former UND standout Kristo traded to Rangers

GRAND FORKS – Sunday was the four-year anniversary of the NHL trade that sent defenseman Ryan McDonagh from the Montreal Canadiens to the New York Rangers.

Danny Kristo would be OK if Tuesday’s move worked out the same way.

Kristo, the former University of North Dakota standout and Hobey Baker Award finalist, was traded from the Canadiens to the Rangers in exchange for forward Christian Thomas.

A 2008 second-round draft pick, Kristo signed his entry-level deal with Montreal after UND’s season ended in the spring and played a handful of games with its top minor-league team, the Hamilton Bulldogs.

But now, he’s headed to Broadway, where McDonagh has turned into a star defenseman for the Rangers since being traded.

There are some similarities between the players. Both are from the Twin Cities: McDonagh is from St. Paul and Kristo is from Eden Prairie.

Both played their college hockey in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association: Kristo played for UND and McDonagh for Wisconsin. Both earned all-rookie team honors and all-WCHA honors while in college.

Kristo and McDonagh were teammates on the 2009 U.S. World Junior squad as well.

Now, Kristo will try to take the same path to the NHL, where McDonagh has been a key part in helping the Rangers to the conference semifinals in each of the last two playoffs.

The Rangers need help in the scoring department and Kristo, who led all WCHA players with 26 goals last season, could help. The right winger has potential to play a number of roles with a New York team that just hired former Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault as the bench boss.

Kristo can be both a scorer and an energy player with his high-end skating ability.

“Just wanted to thank the Montreal Canadiens organization for their support over the past couple years,” Kristo posted on Twitter. “Excited to be a New York Ranger.”

The Canadiens will be hoping that Thomas doesn’t end up like Scott Gomez, who fizzled out after the McDonagh trade.

Thomas played one game with the Rangers last season, spending most of it with their American Hockey League affiliate, Connecticut.

Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald