The Good Erik Christensen

November 8, 2011, by

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.

Categories : Analysis


  1. The Suit says:

    Nice guy, but he’s still a future KHLer.

    • Bobby G says:

      I’m sure at some point he goes to the KHL. However, I could see him getting an NHL contract with a team that was in a similar situation that we were in when we picked him up. A weak team with no legit 1st line center could have some use for him.

  2. Mikeyyyy says:

    Ec is a bum.

  3. Walt says:

    EC is the most frustrating man on the ice whenever he plays. Yes, plenty of skill, no gonads, and won’t muck it up along the boards at all. I don’t believe that we have can afford a guy on the roster that can be counted upon as a part-time player. If he plays as he has for a sustained period of time, well maybe we can reconsider, until then he is an unproven player!

  4. Tim says:

    This is more of a critique on the commenters than the author himself, but calling EC the most frustrating player is kinda ridiculous. Look at what we pay this guy and compare it to a Wolski, an Avery, a Zuc, or anyone else. Now I don’t mean this as a knock on those guys as I like our whole team, but what I mean to say is that EC is a bargain basement deal on some serious talent that we plucked off WAIVERS. There was no infuriating trade (Tyutin for Zherdev?) and no typical NYR ridiculous contract (too many to list)…this is a player we got for free, who counts for basically nothing against the cap, and can effectively come out of the pressbox and chip in some offense when we need him. And even his biggest detractors know he’s surprises us all at moments with big goals. Too inconsistent? For sure, that’s why he gets paid what he gets paid, and gets scratched 25 games a year. Fans who get so pissed off at him for being exactly this–the type of player his contract implies he is…it absolutely baffles me. It’s the same ridiculousness in the NY fan culture that made people boo guys like Marek Malik EVERY time they touched the damn puck in seasons where they were a damn plus 36 (see who tops that mark this or any year soon). Ya just need a reason to boo. The frustration will always exist, our fanbase just needs a scapegoat to direct it at. This year it’s EC and probably Wolski when he gets healthy again and doesn’t put up first line numbers (sorry I wish him the best but you don’t get traded twice at that age if something isn’t seriously wrong). If Gaborik or Richards faulters, it’ll be them. Could be anyone. No one is ever safe, not for too long. “We” just need someone to resent, so each and every year we find it in either a forward who couldn’t hold Messier’s jock, or a defenseman who couldn’t carry Leetch’s…point is, very rarely do we hate on people who are being paid to reach the standards we set for them, and even then the problem is usually just that our GM paid them to be a player they’re not (Wade Redden belongs in the NHL, just at Tom Poti’s salary in Washington–where he was an alternate captain for a 1st place team and QB’d an extremely successful PP). For anyone who’s actually played it, hockey’s a sport where there is no room for not caring, not at any level–least of all the NHL–so I’m sorry but it’s absurd to me how frustrated “we” get with players as it’s usually based on ridiculous standards. I’m sure all the posters here would scoff at this, but at what we pay Christensen I’d sign him for four more years and just hope I was smart enough to build a depth chart ahead of him that made him exactly what he is: a skilled guy you start against the Senators, but scratch against the Flyers. He’s a no risk scenario. And if we wanna get frustrated about someone/something, we should get mad at the fact that our old Captain (and the last guy to put this team on his back and carry us into the playoffs other than Lundqvist) is still wearing #68 but playing for the Flyers and tearing it up for less money than we’re paying Wolski to nurse his groin, come back, and find himself on the 3rd line again.

    • Dave says:

      Would you mind separating that into paragraphs? Seriously. Can’t read that at all.

    • Section 121 says:

      I read it, very valid points Tim but, paragraphs would be helpful.

    • kgb16 says:

      To the guys that want paragraphs: You guys are just jealous you didn’t write this

      To the guy that wrote this: You should have a column somewhere. Great analysis, but that’s also the fun of being a fan. Our opinions don’t matter but we have ’em. As a hockey player, I agree that a non-player may miss sonme of the realities of a game that can only be experienced when you’ve got the puck, are trying to figure out what to do with it before some behemoth attempts to separate your head from your body.

  5. The Suit says:

    Some excellent points, and I understand why he is on the roster, but I am still going to make lame jokes about the guy. I mean it’s so easy…

    But I agree, I don’t get my briefs in a bunch over a 13th forward.