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Could Chris Kreider’s return impact Rick Nash’s future with the Rangers?

Is Kreider a Calder candidate?

Returning tonight. Sweet.

With the news of Chris Kreider’s imminent return to the Rangers line-up (likely tonight), it’s fair to say the sooner the talented winger is back in the line-up the better the Rangers chances are to overcome the Penguins. The fact that a rookie – who has had a solid yet unspectacular first full season with the Rangers – is almost seen as a saviour for the offense can be seen as an indirect criticism of most if not all of the Rangers big name offensive players up front, most notably Rick Nash.

How Chris Kreider fares in this year’s playoffs and the start of next season will have a direct impact on the future of Rick Nash. Many Rangers fans have already begun to jump off the Nash bandwagon amid his distinct lack of playoff production. If Kreider could come back and become the consistent scorer everyone thinks he could be it could spell danger for Nash’s Rangers future.

Kreider has greater straight line speed than Nash, and perhaps most noticeably (evident even while out of the line-up) goes to the net and the high traffic areas more consistently. Given the comparative costs of the two wingers, if Kreider could replicate what Nash has done as a Ranger (which isn’t a huge stretch given Kreider’s talent) the Rangers may look to end the Nash era early.

Both Kreider and Nash are power forwards with great size both of who possess elite finishing ability. The biggest differences – which both count against Nash – are that one is significantly cheaper and carries less baggage as a Ranger. If the Rangers were to be eliminated by the Penguins this week, and Nash carries his barren streak into next year, the negativity and questions around Nash may be too great to reverse. Marian Gaborik was almost chased out of two despite a pair of 40-goal seasons as a Ranger while on a less skilled team.

The perfect scenario for the Rangers would see Kreider return immediately and hit the ground running, while coinciding with Nash potting a few and getting back to being the elite power forward everyone knows he can be. That scenario would give the Rangers offense an immediate boost and a realistic chance to go toe to toe with the Penguins. It seems a rookie may really be a saviour in waiting.

34 Responses to “Could Chris Kreider’s return impact Rick Nash’s future with the Rangers?”

  1. Brendan says:

    Kreider is NOT going to put Rick Fucking Nash out of a job.

  2. Dan says:

    If he’s back tonight do you see him back on aline with Stepan and Nash?

    • Spozo says:

      I dunno if Kreider will be able to play 20-25 minutes on the top line. He hasn’t played a game in a couple months so I think 12-15 minutes is a more realistic expectation.

      He has been medically cleared which only means he can’t do more damage to his hand by playing. That doesn’t mean he can fill grasp the stick and take a decent shot.

      Well that’s what the coaching staff is for so hopefully they make the right call on this tonight.

  3. WilliamW says:

    The current version if Kreider is nowhere close to Nash. The idea of upgrading the team by getting rid of an elite talent is very far off base. Nash was on pace for ~35 goals this year if he played 82 games. Kreider has a long way to go before he sniffs that level of production and I’m a huge Kreider fan

    Also, the point of having cap space is to be able to land elite talents like Nash to augment the cost controlled younger talent

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      Couldn’t agree more. One, how do the Rangers go about “ending the Nash era”? Their one compliance buyout will most certainly be used on Richards (as it should).

      Two, if the Rangers bow out of the playoffs with the current Nash production, his value will be at an all time low, trading him will be very difficult.

      Third, as frustrated as I am right now with his production, no one on the team is a consistent 30 goal scorer (with the exception of MSL given a full season with the team). For all his warts, he is the most or second most prolific goal scorer, if even in the regular season.

      Lastly, to base any decisions on the small sample that Kreider will provide in this year’s playoffs is foolish. We can all see his upside, but he’s got a ways to go to be Rick Nash.

    • Chris says:

      No one said Kreider was his equal, but given the cap difference and long term upside Kreider is more important to the Rangers.

    • Walt says:

      Hay my man, where the hell does this elite player come into play, it sure as hell isn’t Nash.

      When he came into the NHL, he was terrific, now after two concussions, he is the shell of the player we thought we were getting. He never makes any moves to crash the net, shoots from 25 feet out, wants no contact, please let me know what it is your smoking, I want some!!!!!

      Elite, now that is pure BULL SH*T!!!!!

  4. Leatherneckinlv says:

    Kreider will not be the reason Nash (hopefully) will be a goner. Rick Nash is his own reason for being a goner. In all my years of watching Hockey Rick Nash has been the worst player as advertised.
    He has been his own worst enemy, he has heard all the things he needs to do and he just will not. If he is worried about concussions then he needs to retire and move on. If he wants to play Hockey…then do it…play hard, pay the price of your contract in return and go be a mean son of a gun and claim your ice and know you will get hit, cross checked, slashed and interfered with. GET INTO THE PAINT, get a dirty goal. You will like it Mr Nash…trust m in fact you will love it.

  5. roadrider says:

    “Marian Gaborik was almost chased out of [town] despite a pair of 40-goal seasons as a Ranger while on a less skilled team.”

    Would that be the same Marian Gaborik who now has 6 goals in the playoffs this year?

    Nash needs to do more but he can’t do it alone. His line mates have not exactly distinguished themselves this post season. Having Kreider back could open up a lot more space for Nash.

    I’m willing to trade anyone in the right deal but shipping Nash out of town will most likely backfire. Other teams will (rightly) think the Rangers are selling low and will not give up much in return for taking on the contract. Better to provide a better supporting cast.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Agree on the Gaborik point. He is working out wonderfully as a compliment to an already deep top 6, as opposed to failing (in the playoffs) as it’s main focal point as he was on the Rangers.

      There are very very few players like Crosby, Tavares, Bergeron…centers who make anyone around them better. Generational talents, if you will. Nash is closer to being that type of player than Gaborik, but I think we are all coming to the realization that he is more of a high end complimentary piece than a building block. Look at Gaborik’s playoff ‘failure’ here and his playoff ‘renaissance’ in LA. Ship Nash to Stl to play with Steen or to Ana to play with Getzlaf and we would see some very solid production.

      I think a big part of the problem in our scoring inabilities is Sather’s failure to construct a formidable top 6. Thus, it is easy to shut down a couple dangerous players. This year, however, we are closest we’ve been post lockout to having a lineup deep enough to really compete. Unfortunately, it may prove to be not enough, but we are headed in the right direction. If we were to fix our ‘second’ (Richards) line, I think we would be in a much better situation. All that said we are not a true contender this year, but very well could be next year.

  6. joe says:

    If Nash could be a goner! Here’s some food for thought. Since Washington just rid themselves of their coach and GM, how say Nash and maybe someone like JT Miller or Mark Staal (so we can get Mcilrath in lineup) for Ovechken and a player or a pick…

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Nooooooooooooooo

      but let’s get Backstrom instead

    • joe says:

      For all the negative comments, Nash is 1 hit away from never playing again. Ovechken would thrive in NY He loves the spotlight
      . As for Staal he’s 1 year away from free agency,who says he’s even going to resign with us. Its always better to trade someobe 1 year too early than late or get no return leaving in free agency. As for Backstrom he’s just like Stepan,Brassard.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        You realize Ovechkin’s cap hit is over $9.5M?!?! Yes, you read that right. Great one way player (who loves playing in only one zone on the ice)…well enough said really.

        • joe says:

          You realize cap goes up next year by 7mm. By deleting richards (cap) nash we can handle the 9mm. 1 way player we cant score!!

          • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

            So what? Doesn’t make paying the highest cap in the league for an incomplete player a better decision.

            The Rangers just can’t “delete” Nash’s cap unless a team trades for him. Not sure that’s happening.

      • pavel_burrito says:

        No way we need Ovi.

        He’s basically a globetrotter. Great offensive skill, but a team killer. It’s very hard to get the rest of the team to buy into the “team first” concept, when your best scorer has the “me first” attitude.

        Exile that hot dog to Edmonton, where they do a fine enough job killing coaches as an organization already

  7. "The Original" Rob says:

    Although I agreed with everything you wrote Chris, I’d have to disagree with you when labeling Rick Nash as a power forward.

    I never felt he was a power forward when he played for Columbus and in International play, and I’m even more convinced of this, seeing him as a Ranger. To me, Nash is a big “sniper.”

    In my opinion, the lack of players in the “power forward” role on this team is the biggest blemish. I think that Kreider is the only player on this club that is one.

  8. Dan S says:

    Nash’s lack of goal scoring has certainly been disappointing. That’s what he was brought here to do and that’s what we need. That said, in my opinion he is not the main reason that his line is struggling–failing the last six games, really–to produce. I think Stepan has looked awful–his skating lethargic, his shooting weak, his faceoffs dreadful, his ability to establish a presence around the net nonexistent. Yet because Nash and, to a lesser extent, St Louis draw the bulk of the criticism the fact Step’s play has been the worst of the three has gone relatively unnoticed. I’m not sure if you brought up tapes of Richards from last year’s playoffs who would look worse.

  9. RD says:

    Nash gains the benefit of Kreider returning by going back to right wing where he’s much more effecitve, where he likes to come of the boards – assuming Kreider goes back with Step and Nash. Kreider also provides a presence in front of the net that both Step and Nash can leverage.
    Question is where does St.Louis go (back with Richards and Hagelin?). Who then goes to the 4th line, Dorsett or Carcillo (I prefer Carcillo).

  10. SalMerc says:

    Can we play and win Game 4 before we worry about this?

  11. Frank Cerbone says:

    Nash is a big guy who plays “small”.
    Kreider is a whole lot more physical, and of course cheaper.

    Would love to see Rangers trade for RFA young Ryan Johansen of Columbus-big, scoring, great faceoff guy.

    If Rangers lose to Pitts in series, will sure hope Nash, St Louis, & Richards are shown the exits.

    • pavel_burrito says:

      Nash needs a blood transfusion from Zuck.

      I think St Louis stays next year, no matter what. He still has gas left in the tank (though he currently isn’t showing much for it) and Slats gave up too much to just let him walk.

      Richards, for sure needs to go. He’s actually playing well right now, but I don’t see how he can sustain that level of play next year. That, and he’s counted on for leadership, and I just don’t see how he can lead while being a lame duck.

      • Walt says:

        Pavel

        When you do the transfusion, please steal Nash’s purse from him, he looks odd out there with it!!!!

    • Chris F says:

      Nash and St Louis would to be traded. To where? For whom?

  12. iceman9999 says:

    First of all Gaborik was NOT chased out of NYC.. He wanted out because he along with every ranger and ranger fan was tired of the Torts bull crap!.. Gabby wants to score goals that’s why they got him and that’s why he was paid as much, to score goals NOT jump in front of pucks & play defense…..
    A.V. is a much better fit for the Rangers..
    I am happy for gabby, wish him lots of success…

  13. joe says:

    Not saying its going to happen,but it should be explored.

  14. WayneG says:

    If I remember correctly, I could have read it on this site, Kreider was a big part of what Columbus wanted in the initial trade talks- Slats wanted no part of giving up a young,unproven Nash, for the real thing. Kreider may very well turn into what we expected Nash to be. In hind sight I wish he was all that we expected rather than what he is turning out to be.

  15. Frank Cerbone says:

    Who can we trade St Louis for …put him on waivers, wait for someone to try to claim him,then try to make a deal or just bench him.

    Who can we trade 30 yr old Nash for…somebody with a smaller, contract like Phila’s 34 y old Vincent Lecavalier who will cost $3 mil less per year or defenseman Brian Campbell

    • Spozo says:

      That’s a complete joke. You’re going to put MSL on waivers then be on the hook for half his contract if he is picked up.

  16. Jackson says:

    There seems to be a lot of trade talk in here with no regard for the NMC on both Nash and St. Louis’ contracts. Trading them isn’t likely to even be an option.

  17. Rollin says:

    Trade Nash to San Jose, he’s a perfect fit… They’re all about scoring in the regular season and tanking the playoffs… Trade em for Scotty Hannon straight up. Nash is a bum… Wish we still had Arty and Duby those guys come to play .