Erik Christensen could be one of the most infuriating New York Rangers skaters of all time. When he wants to be, Christensen is one of the most skilled players on the team. The problem is of course the phrase “when he wants to be.” During his first seven games of the year, Christensen was invisible, and played poorly both with the puck and without the puck. The last four games, Chrsitensen has shown renewed vigor, and has earned more ice time –specifically on the powerplay. With more ice time has come more results, in particular two multi point games in the last four games, and a final line of 1-3-4 to close out the home stand.
Christensen can be the Rangers ‘X Factor’ if he continues to play like this. Simply put, he has the potential to be their powerplay specialist in addition to their shootout specialist. It’s something that became very obvious during this home stand, when Christensen made spectacular passes to set up goals, and scored one of his own. Most of his points have come with the man advantage, or just as a powerplay expired.
These past four games, we have seen the ‘good’ Erik Christensen. Sure, he’s not scoring in every game, but he’s been creating chances and playing up to his skill level. He’s never going to be a top line player because he is far too inconsistent (and rather awful without the puck), but if the Rangers can continue to deploy him as a weapon on the powerplay, then we may start to see an Erik Christensen that can give the Rangers something more than just overall inconsistency.
In small doses, and in the right situations, Erik Christensen is a useful and effective player. That’s why he’s managed to remain on this roster as a fourth line player. It is very obvious why people think he can be amazing, and it’s also very obvious why he has been with four NHL teams already. Under the proper coach, and in the proper situations, he can be extremely helpful to a team. The way coach John Tortorella has been using him lately may be that right situation.