Chris Kreider is leading the Rangers future now
Chris Kreider will take the reins from Henrik Lundqvist as the face of the New York Rangers franchise. Yes, that’s a big statement but his play is backing it up.
His value and talent is unmatched on this current roster. There is still a lot of hockey left for Kreider, who is signed on until 2020-21, which will be his 29-year-old season. Its shown in the early stages of this season, as he is on pace to crush his career highs. At the moment he has scored 11 goals and assisted on 7 others in the first 20 games of this season. For projection sake, thats 45 goals and nearly 29 assists, both career highs.
It seems as though his expectancy has grown each year, and each year he has surpassed it. His goal production has improved with each season, his locker room leadership is starting to take shape and the respect is coming from his peers. Another area he has excelled in is being a nuisance in front of opposing goaltenders. Using his 6’3 frame to keep the point men in the shade, Kreider creates a-lot of scoring chances with deception.
Since joining the Rangers in the 2012-13 season, Kreider is among a small list of NHL forwards that have registered a 99+ PDO score in that time. Those who highlight the list are Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat of Tampa Bay and Mark Scheifele in Winnipeg. All three of those players are raking in upwards of $5 million AAV over the coming years.
Kredier is currently taking $4.6 million off of the Rangers payroll over the remainder of this season and next. His re-signing will be a hefty price tag, but with the thought of coming out of this rebuild by then, it will be worth the money. The aforementioned players are key pieces to their organizations and so is Kreider.
Its been discussed on this site before that Chris Kreider could be moved to garner more prospects and picks for the future. But, in all due respect, the future resides in Chris Kreider.
The rebuild is still in effect, but Kreider must remain. Filip Chytil is beginning to find his stride, Brett Howden has been a spark plug for this seasons success and with more young guys like Tim Gettinger and Ville Meskanen making a mark in Hartford, the future looks bright. That is of course, for now.
The New York Rangers are winning hockey games in a season that many believed would be one to forget. Its an early but optimistic time for this team and Kreider is a big part of it. Under coach David Quinn, it seems that Kreider has found the right coach for him and his skill set.
As reported by Larry Brooks of the New York Post, Kreider is a veteran on this babyfaced team, but has acknowledged his role and expectation under Quinn.
“There’s a strong element of accountability here. If you’re a young guy and are helping the team, you’ll play. If you’re an older guy and are helping the team, you’ll play. If you’re young and you’re not contributing, you’ll sit. If you’re older and not contributing, you’ll sit,” Kreider said. “We’re developing but at the same time we’re trying to win games, we’re trying to make the playoffs.”
With Henrik Lundqvist nearing the end of his storied career, the face of the franchise is due to shift. Chris Kreider should be the unanimous favorite to hold that title. Who knows, maybe he will even get a “C” on his chest to commemorate the honor.