Great Expectations: Assessing Chris Kreider’s Play
Chris Kreider made his National Hockey League debut on quite possibly one of the biggest and brightest stages possible; the Eastern Conference quarter-finals against the Ottawa Senators, a team which was pesky and tough to play against, as they took the New York Rangers through a grueling seven games to open up the postseason.
In that series against the Senators, Kreider produced seven points in 18 games, impressive for a young kid making his first ever pro appearance, in the postseason no less. During the lockout-shortened season of 2012-13, with the Rangers still under the John Tortorella regime, Kreider failed to make his coaching staff happy, and this resulted in him being sent down to the AHL to play with the then named Connecticut Whale, the Rangers’ AHL affiliate. Now, their farm team is the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Regardless, most fans knew that Kreider had the potential to become a great player at the professional level, but obviously Torts did not see it the same way the die-hard fans did.
When Tortorella was fired this past summer, Alain Vigneault took over the head coaching duties, giving the Rangers, and Kreider, a fresh start and something to look forward to.
Under AV, Kreider’s been given a great chance, and he is wasting no time trying to help out his team. So far this season, he has produced 34 points in 59 games played, something which isn’t bad for a rookie in the midst of a Calder Trophy race.
But recently, the 22 year old speed demon has seen a dropoff in production, and has been under fire these past weeks from fans and media personnel alike.
So far this season, Kreider is averaging about 14 minutes of ice time per game. During that time span, the team’s shooting percentage is at 8.02 and their save percentage is at .934, so it is obvious that he is making an impact while he is out there running his shifts.
But if you take a closer look at his game-by-game stats, you will see that he notched two goals in Sunday’s 3-0 win over Detroit, but before that game, Kreider had only one goal in the team’s previous 12 games. A staggering stat to say the least.
Some critical of Kreider’s game may be quick to jump down his throat about his lack of production over recent contests, but I personally do not see a problem with the forward and I believe that he has been a huge benefit to this Rangers team. Who knows where the offense would be if Kreider wasn’t here. We all know the Blueshirts have had problems putting the puck in the net, but it seems as though they finally have the right pieces to compete and start generating the offense that they need to be producing on a daily basis.
Kreider’s goals for percentage is at 61.9%, the highest total on the team. This shows that he has been putting in the work ethic and dedication that is needed to be a successful winger in the NHL.
Technically, this is Kreider’s first full season in the league, so there are bound to be some setbacks, but for the most part, Chris has been a great surprise for this team and turned into something very special that the Rangers should hold dear to them for many years to come, because who knows, the young forward might prove very useful when it comes to winning a potential Stanley Cup title.