For the longest time, all every New York Rangers’ fan talked about was the unlimited potential of Chris Kreider.
Everyone talked about his speed, his shot, his ability to deflect pucks, his nose for the net, and the fire he gets in his eyes when he sees an open part of the net. It was like that when he first came into the league during the 2011-12 postseason.
Now, while Kreider, 27, has put up somewhat decent numbers in his career so far, he has yet to be the consistent player that the franchise needs him to be. In fact, it could be said that he was so inconsistent that many wondered whether or not the club would trade him.
This perception is starting to change 25 games into this season. The team and their fans are seeing that when Kreider gives it his all every night, he can be a true difference maker and the club’s best and maybe only power forward.
Kreider leads the team with 13 goals and is tied for the team lead in points (21) with Mika Zibanejad. It may still be early in the season, but there are a few reasons why this kind of play from Kreider can continue.
As mentioned above, Kreider has a nose for the net. He seems to be around opposing goaltenders all game along whether it’s going hard to the net with the puck, standing in front of them deflecting shots and looking for rebounds, or just being in good position to get his stick on the puck.
When Kreider is on top of his game, he was one of the best in the league in being tough to contain around the net. This season, he has consistently been using his size and strength to create scoring opportunities for himself.
Secondly, Kreider is starting to shoot the puck on the net a bit more. He has a very underrated shot, but prior to this season, he seemed to be afraid to use it on a daily basis.
Well, he’s changed that part of his game this season and look at where it has gotten him. He has 72 shots on goal and out of those 72 shots, 13 of them have gone in, which means that he has a shooting percentage of close to 20 percent.
Kreider has also been a force on the team’s power play. As of this writing, he has five power play goals and seven powerplay points.
With his size in front of the net, his ability to deflect pucks, as well as an eye for picking corners, Kreider can make an impact on any team’s power play. The Blueshirts will need this to continue because when it comes to this club, they do not exactly score a lot of goals. so when they do put the puck in the net, it is usually a very big one.
Kreider needs to continue to play this way going forward. He cannot afford to take games off because when and if he struggles, it is going to negatively impact the hockey club.
With that said, Kreider has shown signs that both he and his game are evolving in ways that are conducive to being a consistent and productive NHLer. Now, he just needs show that he can do it for the rest of the year.
Photo: Associated Press