Kreider sacrificing personal numbers for the team
“Has anyone told Chris Kreider that he is in his contract year?”
I came across the above sarcastic and rhetorical quote as I was trolling around the Twitter-sphere this morning. You see, in the world of professional sports, an athlete in their contract year, on the verge of unrestricted free agency, typically hits their apex of productivity in order to earn that lucrative, long term deal from a willing organization.
Chris Kreider and his future on Broadway, became a polarizing topic for the Garden Faithful as many speculated about the merits of re signing the 2009 first round draft pick or adding #20 to the long list of aging fan-favorites jettisoned for younger prospects and future draft selections.
Kreider has been constantly inconsistent from the minute he stepped off the Boston College campus and on to the playoff ice in the 2012 series against the Ottawa Senators. Throughout his seven-plus years donning the Broadway Blue sweater, Kreider has been the epitome of tantalizing and the embodiment of streaky.
Ranger fans have become accustomed to the Massachusetts native and his now infamous prolonged “disappearing acts”. But, what we have seen thus far through 31 games leaves even the most ardent Kreider apologist grasping for words. Kreider, the perennial 20-goal scorer, has lit the lamp just seven times in a season that’s statistically disappointing for the veteran forward.
For the Team
Now, some could make the argument that the 28-year-old Kreider, an elder statesman on the team, is sacrificing his own productivity and potential future monies, for the betterment of the team and the development of the youngsters to whom he has taken under his wing. Kreider has become a mentor for the likes of Kaapo Kakko, Filip Chytil and the myriad of talented neophytes currently inundating the Blueshirt roster.
As Rangerstown is well aware, Kreider can hit one of his sizzling hot streaks and pour in goals at an Alexander Ovechkin-like pace. As Blueshirt fans also know all too well, that torrid goal scoring pace quickly evaporates and Kreider transforms from Ovechkin into Claude Rains.
Team President John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton have a plethora of difficult personnel decisions to make before February’s trade deadline. Along with Kreider, Davidson and Gorton have to decide what to do with fellow pending free agents, Ryan Strome, Tony DeAngelo and Alexandar Georgiev. Do the Rangers brain trust pay them or trade them?
Strome, DeAngelo and particularly Georgiev have all performed at the highest levels of the respective NHL careers-just in time to earn that shiny new, elusive lucrative multi-year contract. All three stalwarts will most certainly get paid, the question that remains is will team owner James Dolan be the one who will sign those paychecks?
While the aforementioned center, defenseman and goalie are causing the Ranger hierarchy to burn the midnight oil discussing what will be the best course of action, Kreider is making the decision about his future with the Rangers quite simple. Yes, a player in his contract year regressing is an anomaly all right, but it is par for the course for an athlete who has been an enigma since he made his NHL debut.