Chris Kreider must rise for Rangers in round two

Kredier NYR (Scott Levy / Getty Images)

Kredier NYR (Scott Levy / Getty Images)

Chris Kreider must rise from the depths of the Rangers roster and emerge to unleash terror on the City of Washington. In round one, Kreider was relatively quiet with just one goal on ten shots. It is now time for the beast to awaken.

Before I get this article rolling, the incomparable Larry Brooks posted a great piece on Chris Kreider which I recommend reading here. The reason I mention this is silly but personal as most of the Rangers blogging community can’t stand me and thinks I rip ideas off left and right. Well, Larry published his column at 11:45 PM and I had this exchange with a fan much earlier (7:30PM). Sorry, but now I can move on in peace (I hope).

As I pointed out in the series preview earlier this morning, the Capitals like to play a physical style of hockey. Players like Joel Ward, Jason Chimera, Tom Wilson and Jay Beagle thrive on it. The Rangers aren’t a physical team. Sure they can grind it out as we saw against the Penguins but it isn’t their style.

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Very few Rangers on the roster can match the Caps up front. Although Rick Nash is big, he is a finesse player that uses his size and reach to gain position offensively. Kevin Hayes is also a big bodied player but uses it much like Nash. Maybe if Hayes was on the wing, we’d get a more physical player. J.T. Miller is probably the most physical and skilled winger we have outside of one man, Chris Kreider.

[su_quote cite=”NY POST” url=”http://nypost.com/2015/04/28/rangers-need-this-young-star-to-stop-being-the-invisible-man/”]“I want to make a visible impact, of course I do, but for this team to win, I think everybody is going to need to make a visible impact,” Kreider said. “You can’t have any passengers at this time of the year. “Whether it’s on the score sheet, play in the defensive zone, or physical play, every guy we have needs to be a difference-maker.”[/su_quote]

Chris Kreider, NYR (Getty)

Chris Kreider, NYR (Getty)

We’ve all seen the Kreider jumping out of the pool video. We all know just how amazing his speed is and combined with his hands just how lethal a combination it can be. We also know that he is an absolute brute and watched him manhandle opponents physically throughout his career. The issue? Consistency every night.

At 6’3″ and 226 lbs, Kreider would probably make a great WWE superstar or UFC champion. So it becomes head scratching as to why he’s more likely to be seen on a milk carton than your T.V. screen on some nights.

In the past, I’ve said that Kreider has the physical gifts and tools to develop into a player like Corey Perry. At the tender age of 23, he still has time to do so (Kreider turns 24 tomorrow). However, the time is now to start showing that potential is still there.

The Capitals on the other hand have done a great job containing Kreider this season. In 4 games, he only has 1 assist and 6 shots on goal to go with a -1 rating. Not exactly confidence inspiring heading into this series.

Still, with the absence of Mats Zuccarello someone needs to emerge and Kreider is my key player for this series. If Kreider can use his speed in the neutral zone and his size in front of the Caps net, he could have a monster second round.

If Kreider is going, it will help his linemates Derek Stepan and J.T. Miller (the All American Line) even more so. The Capitals defense will certainly be putting their checking unit on the Rangers top line of Derick Brassard, Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis. This should allow the 2nd line more room to breathe and give Kreider every chance to succeed.

If he does, the Rangers will benefit and head to the Conference Final. One more step closer to completing their unfinished business.