Will Chris Kreider finally pull off the ‘Michigan’ this season?
New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider has developed into one of the NHL’s great goal scorers tallying 88 times in the last two seasons. That places him seventh overall in the entire league over that span. His net front presence has been the key to his success and given him confidence to try some daring moves.
Ever since Carolina Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov successfully attempted the NHL’s first lacrosse-style goal or ‘Michigan’ goal, players around the league have attempted and succeeded at doing so in a game. To this point, it has only been pulled off six times in NHL history. Twice by Svechnikov, the NHL’s trendsetter for the move, once by Filip Forsberg, once by Kent Johnson, and twice by Bedford, New York native Trevor Zegras.
Kreider was inches away from being a part of that list during a game in Boston in November of 2021. Kreider picked the puck up behind the net, only to be denied by the crossbar. What would have set Kreider’s “Michigan” apart from the rest of them is his age.
To this point, everyone that has successfully completed a ‘Michigan’ in-game have been under the age of 25, with both Johnson and Zegras being 20-years-old, and Svechnikov just 19 when he first completed the feat. Kreider would have been 30 had the crossbar not been in the way, which begs the question; Can you teach an old dog new tricks?
Chris Kreider and the ‘Michigan’
Trevor Zegras seems to be trying as both Zegras and Kreider train together at Prentiss Hockey Performace in Stamford, Connecticut.
For some players being paired with a training partner 10 years younger may seem like babysitting but for Kreider, he is using it as a chance to learn from the guys who are changing the NHL at this very moment.
“He’s got a ton of energy.” Kreider told NHL.com Senior Writer Dan Rosen last week. “I tell him he was born caffeinated. He’s bouncing off the walls. But it’s a lot of fun being around that kind of energy and picking his brain, seeing the stuff he does on a daily basis. It’s refreshing.”
Now before we get ahead of ourselves here, do not expect the Rangers to take a run at signing or trading for Trevor Zegras anytime soon. There’s not enough cap space to try an offer sheet, which would outcast Chris Drury from the rest of the NHL’s GMs anyway, and there isn’t enough in the Rangers system that would entice Anaheim to make a trade.
Looking ahead to the 2023-24 season, we may be surprised with what is seen out of Chris Kreider this year. It’s obvious what a threat he is right in front of the net, but being open to learning from the younger guys in this league may help Kreider stay at a high level for a long time. As the old saying goes, “Adapt or die”. It’s those that adjust to the changing environment that survives and Kreider looks to be taking steps to do so.
Note: The Michigan got its name when NCAA hockey player, Mike Legg pulled it off for the Michigan Wolverines in 1996. Chris Kreider made another attempt at the move this past January in a game versus the Hurricanes.