Chris Kreider, on the path of a similar star power forward
Since Mats Zuccarello went down to injury and Rick Nash continued to struggle putting the biscuit in the basket this post season, a lot has been written about Chris Kreider. FullTilt Rangers is no different in that regard. We as well as many others believe Kreider has all the physical tools to be great power forward in the NHL.
Dating back to 2012, I envisioned Kreider as a power forward that could be our Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks, or better. We’ve all seen the Kreider jumping out of the pool video. We all know just how amazing his speed is to go with his quick hands and 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.
When this season ended, Kreider made it his personal mission to unlock that hidden potential and become the player he knows he can be.
[su_quote cite=”Larry Brooks” url=”http://nypost.com/2015/06/01/for-rangers-to-take-next-step-so-must-ultra-talented-winger/”]“I’m going to reach out to people and I have already reached out to people who I believe can help me improve and get to the level I want to reach,” Kreider said. “I’m going to work with a skills coach, I’m going to continue to work with my conditioning and skating instructor, I’m probably going to take some boxing lessons and I’m going to consult with a sports psychologist.”[/su_quote]
Still, even without doing all these things this summer, just how far is he from breaking out and becoming the Eastern Conference’s answer to Corey Perry? Believe it or not, he isn’t too far off right now.
When it comes to physical attributes both Kreider and Perry stand in at 6’3″. Kreider is 6 years younger and weighs 16 more pounds than Perry. Speed wise, Kreider is faster but what makes Perry a superstar are his hands, hockey smarts and consistent battle level. These are the missing components CK20 will need to find this summer to breakout into stardom.
Chris Kreider has played 169 games for the Blueshirts and has 40 goals and 86 points. In contrast, Corey Perry in his first 169 games scored 45 goals and 94 points with the luxury of playing with Ryan Getzlaf. Kreider has bounced around lines over the years but started to settle down this past season with Derek Stepan as his center. Stepan’s steady improvement only bodes well for Kreider as he continues to develop.
If Perry is truly an accurate comparison to the player I feel Kreider’s game most resembles, than this upcoming season should be a good one. In Perry’s next 82 NHL games after the 169 mark, he tallied 27 goals and 44 assists for 71 points. Those would all be career highs for Kreider.
Of course this would be a 25 point improvement from last year which isn’t out of the realm of possibility but still unlikely. Kreider isn’t the playmaker that Perry is and Stepan is yet to be the center Getzlaf is, however it’s very close.
Should Kreider and Stepan reunite and pick up where they left off next season, both could be in for career years. For that to happen, Kreider needs to find that next level in consistency. If he does, the 30 goal plateau is well within reach and flirting with the superstar mark of 40 goals is a real possibility.