Can Chris Kreider put it all together this season?October 15, 2016, by
Chris Kreider has had an interesting Rangers career so far. He burst on the scene in the 2012 playoffs, but was up and down between the AHL and the NHL over the next two seasons. He stuck in the 2013-2014 season, as his rare combination of size and speed are matchup nightmares for opposing teams.
Kreider has been streaky as a Ranger, but certainly not ineffective. He’s put together a pair of 20-goal, 40-point seasons. But there is a common thinking that he could produce more. He’s been right on the cusp for a while, but the dry spells seem to always keep him from reaching 30 goals and perhaps 60 points.
After notching a goal and an assist in the season opener on Thursday night, it’s possible that Kreider finally has the right situation to put it all together. It may just be an overreaction from one game and a few preseason games, but something seems different, and it likely has to do with his linemates.
Prior to his pairing with Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich, Kreider was the go-to shooter on any line combination. The Rangers of the prior two years had many shooters, but few finishers. It forced Kreider into the “sniper” role. It’s a role that didn’t really fit him.
But now with Zibanejad, he’s no longer the shooter. He can get to the front of the net where he belongs, picking up the trash from all the Zibanejad shots. Buchnevich has tremendous vision, serving as the “playmaker” on the line.
Perhaps all Kreider needed was the right teammates with the right style of play to complement his own. In a very small sample size, we’ve seen something different from Kreider. He seems more comfortable with his role, which could lead to a breakout year from the 25-year-old winger."Can Chris Kreider put it all together this season?",