Chris Kreider needs to get it together, starting now
All season, coach Alain Vigneault has been talking about consistency and needing more out of his players. To this point, forward Chris Kreider has played in 24 games, has 4 goals and 9 assists resulting in a mere 9 points. At an average of 15-20 minutes per game, that is just not good enough for a top 6 forward.
Kreider has previously shown he can be a dominant power forward as well as an elite player in this league with his strength, size, speed and skill but has certainly struggled as of late. He is a young player at 23 years of age, and is constantly learning more and more about how the game is played at this level with each game. He has shown improvements in the defensive zone as well as the neutral zone since last season and even though he is going to make mistakes, he is constantly working to improve his defensive game. He needs to continue to work and develop the defensive aspect of his game, while improving his abilities as a top 6 forward.
Either way, he needs to play better both with and without the puck. He has had plenty of chances thus far this season, but has not been able to finish and put the puck in the back of the net. Whatever the reason, Kreider needs to step up his game.
Aside from needing to improve his defensive game, Kreider needs to play with more discipline. He currently leads all New York players with 48 penalty minutes. He is going to have a hard time scoring from the penalty box.
The power play is as uneventful and humdrum as it gets and most Ranger’s fan will attest to that but where they have had success, is having a big body like Kreider parked right in the blue paint screening the opposing goal tender and causing havoc in front of the net. He’s a large guy and with that size and strength, at his best, he could be the key to helping the power play to be successful.
Also, Kreider can have great success on the fore check, but has yet to really do so this season. With his speed and his skill, putting more pressure on the defense man trying to come out of their zone could potentially lead to offensive zone time, extra man advantages and even some goals. He just needs the confidence back in his game.
With that said, Kreider is the kind of player you want to be patient with, you want to give him time to grow and mature as a NHL forward because he has shown how good he can be and how much talent he has. There is nothing wrong with moving him around in the lineup a little bit to try and get his offensive game jump started and letting him go up against some lesser competition.
Kreider needs to figure it out, because if he does not get it together soon, he is going to find himself admiring the ice from the press box.