Chris Kreider has become one of the New York Rangers best

Chris Kreider
Feb 15, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider (20) scores on Vancouver Canucks goalie Arturs Silvos (31) in the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Kreider etched his name in the New York Rangers‘ record books with his goal on Wednesday against the Vancouver Canucks.

When he slid the puck by Arturs Silovs fifty seconds into the second period, it was the 251st goal of his career to surpass the legendary Mark Messier for seventh all-time in franchise history.

“It’s awesome,” Gerard Gallant said. “Kreids is a big player for us. Good for him. Mark Messier is a hall of famer obviously, and one of the great players of all time, so it’s good for Kreids.”

Chris Kreider proof Rangers can develop forwards

One of the underlying narratives regarding the New York Rangers over the last few years is their inability to develop young forwards.

While the Blueshirts have a number of recent success stories on defense with Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren, K’Andre Miller, and Braden Schneider, they haven’t experienced that up front.

At least not as quickly.

Fans are frustrated in the development of Kaapo Kakko (second overall, 2019) and Alexis Lafreniere (first overall, 2020). High expectations that both players should be scoring along the lines of Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews is what’s primarily driving the disappointment. The reality is that the Rangers weren’t a bottom-feeder and selected that high because they won consecutive draft lotteries.

For those that are understanding of the circumstances that have played a role in their slow development, many others point to the failures with Lias Andersson (7th overall, 2017) and Vitali Kravtsov (9th overall, 2018).

Some are changing their tune lately with the Kid Line reunited and reinvigorated led by another top draft pick in Filip Chytil.

The Rangers drafted Chytil in the same draft as Kravtsov, but later in the first-round (21st overall). After debuting for just 9 matches in 2017-18, it’s taken five long years for him to finally come into his own with 19 goals and 33 points in 46 games to date.

However, before Chytil taking his time to find his stride, it was Chris Kreider that Ranger fans had to wait to watch realize his full potential.

Chris Kreider a great Ranger

Chris Kreider
Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers drafted Kreider 19th overall in 2009. Unlike everyone mentioned above, he actually didn’t make his debut for years. During the 2012 playoffs, he exploded on the scene with five goals and seven points in 18 postseason games as a 20 year-old.

Similar to this current iteration of the Blueshirts, Kreider was trying to fight his way onto a team with established stars that just made a run to the Conference Final. That led to only playing in 23 games in 2012-13.

The following season, Kreider played in 66 games but was still taking a backseat to Rick Nash, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, and Mats Zuccarello. If you recall, the Rangers went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2013-14.

Kreider really started coming into his own as a 25 year-old during the 2016-17 season where he recorded 28 goals and 53 points. He wouldn’t surpass those career-highs for five seasons, when he scored 52 goals and 77 points last year.

The bottom line is that with some players patience is a virtue. The 31 year-old Kreider is a prime example of how long it can take for a player to realize their full potential and establish themselves as a star on Broadway.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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