Stay Or Go: Erik Christensen

May 19, 2011, by

To say Erik Christensen is inconsistent would be the understatement of the year.  Christensen has a lot of skill, but he only showcases it about half the time.  It is incredibly aggravating to see someone with that much skill just coast through some games.  Acquired last season via the waiver wire, Christensen has dazzled at times, and disappointed at times.  When he dazzles, he does more than just wow you.  The kid has some serious skill, and if he could ever put it all together, he would be a great player.  This led to the belief by many that he should be centering the first line.  I have always believed that a team relying on Erik Christensen to be their top center is a team destined to disappoint.  I am not that far off.

In 112 games since he joined the Rangers, Christensen has 19 goals and 34 assists, for a total of 53 points.  To put it in perspective, that is roughly a 40 point per season average for Christensen.  Not too shabby, especially for a guy with a $925,000 cap hit through next season.  For that level of production, especially if it comes from the fourth line, it is a great deal.  Don’t get me wrong, although I do not like Christensen’s game, I do think he serves a purpose as a bottom-six player and a shootout threat.

The problem with Christensen, as mentioned above, is his inconsistency.  Out of his 27 points this season, 10 of them came in five games (2/25 @ WAS, four games from 3/12-3/20).  That’s almost a third of his points in five games.  That is not good enough for a first line player*.  Considering his defense doesn’t compensate for his inconsistencies (just a 1.4 DGVT last season), he doesn’t offer much while on the ice.  Simply put, if you aren’t producing, you can’t play defense, and you don’t win faceoffs (49.4%), then you don’t deserve a lot of ice time. 

*-I know the Marian Gaborik argument is going to get brought up, so let me just say that Gaborik is 100x the player that Christensen is.  The 2010-2011 year was an off-year for Gaborik.  The 2010-2011 year for Christensen was the norm.  There is a big difference there.

In the end, Christensen’s contract likely saves his future with the Rangers.  He is signed for another year at under $1 million, which makes him affordable as a bottom-six guy.  He brings an added element to the shootout, as he is almost automatic in the skills competition.  Arguments can be made to keep him, arguments can be made to dump him for a draft pick.  Personally, I think Christensen stays for the rest of his deal, unless he is included in a trade package –he has no trade value on his own– for a roster upgrade.  I highly doubt the Rangers keep him after next season though.

Categories : Analysis, Offseason


  1. The Suit says:

    Future KHLer right there. I hope the Rangers get rid of him. He has good hands, but that’s about it. Rather see a gamer on the 4th line.

  2. jerry says:

    dave you know how i feel ,see ya erik.a waste of space.

    • Dave says:

      Yea, I pretty much agree with you. But, that said, he serves a purpose as a 4th liner.

      • scrangerfan says:

        If you looking at a fourth line center for a team struggling for an 8th place playoff position then Christiensen is your man. But if you are working on improving the team to be a serious cup contender then you must not consider him to be part of your team. He’s been here long enough to prove that he’s just not good enough. Having talant is only good if you bring it every game.It is clear that E.C.does not.Get rid of him A.S.A.P!

  3. Brian SCS says:

    I don’t want to see EC centering Gaborik anymore – either Stepan or Anisimov. I think I would also rather see Kris Newbury in the lineup as the 4th line center at this point over EC – a guy with a little sandpaper who brings more to the table. Actually, the more I think about it, his value is almost limited to shootouts at this point and MZA has that covered. Move him and give his $ to Fedotenko.

  4. Matt J says:

    I think we should send him to the Whale see what he does there.

  5. M.R.M. says:

    EC is a place holder at max. If they can trade him before the draft, for a pick or something, I’d do it. Otherwise I guess they’ll keep him and see in camp if the young guys are ready. If not EC will play a forth line role and if enough prospects are ready he’ll find himself in the pressbox or Connecticut.

  6. BuckarooClub says:

    I don’t see EC going anywhere. He’s alot of things we need right now. He’s cheap, has some decent hands/SO ability, and has been able to click with Gabby. I’m not saying he’s an answer forever, but with only one year left on his contract, I think we have much bigger fish to fry then EC. In the bottom 6 six, I think he’s as good as any other option. He’s experienced enough to sit a few games and not take it personally or have it destroy him. Also, if we have an injury in the top 6, I think he’s a GREAT option to plug holes up there.

  7. Chris says:

    I like EC. Maybe if coaching worked on his motivation more, they might get better results. There’s some serious talent headed up from CT. He doesn’t have much more time to break out (if ever he does). He might wind up in CT this season or get bounced back & forth. Scratching him as a healthy scratch isn’t helping him any. He should be playing as much as possible, NYR or Whale. It’s got to be a bummer to get scratched that much.