Forwards

The Rangers need more from Chris Kreider

We haven't seen Kreider goal celebrations nearly enough. Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images
We haven’t seen Kreider goal celebrations nearly enough. Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

Thank god the Rangers have Rick Nash. That’s a statement not just uttered countless times by the Ranger fan base but is something that Chris Kreider has probably said a few times this season as well. Luckily for Kreider, Nash’s blistering start has diverted a lot of attention from several underperforming players including Kreider.

Kreider has had games this year where he has been utterly dominant. The big winger has been a wrecking ball and an offensive threat on almost every shift in some games. Then there is the Kreider that has disappeared and who has been a liability while contributing nothing offensively.

Right now, we’re seeing both sides from Kreider and that’s simply not good enough. He’s playing physically yet he’s not contributing offensively. This is the year that Kreider should be taking the next step, the year that he should be developing the consistency that elite players are known for. Obviously the skill set is there for Kreider to be a top tier power forward but he’s not delivering to expectations.

Kreider is currently riding a six game pointless streak. When he has scored, he’s scored in bunches (four points in a two games spell once and four points in a three game spell to start the year). He’s only registered one shot in his last two games yet he is fourth in ice time among Ranger forward for the season (at both 5 v 5 and on the powerplay). The opportunities have clearly been there.

Kreider’s shooting percentage should not be a concern. He’s down from last year (from 12.5% down to 10.5%) but he’s still at a rate where if he can get himself in the positions to succeed his finishing ability should not be an issue. So what is wrong with Kreider?

There will be a point when Rick Nash slows down. He cannot maintain his current shooting percentage of 18.6% even if he continues to have a dominant season. This is when Kreider will need to step up. This is why a team has depth: to cope with inevitable highs and lows players go through. When Nash goes through a dry spell, the likes of Kreider, Marty St Louis and Mats Zuccarello will need to step up.

Many people were expecting this to be the year where Kreider took off. Some were even anticipating him out scoring Nash. So far this season, Kreider has merely teased us with his skill. It’s time he started to put it all together. If he does, the Rangers could have another successful season on their hands.

 

 

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  • Have to agree with you, Kreider is underwhelming us this year!

    Question for all, and this is no means an excuse for his lack of production, but do any of you think that being bounced from line, to line can be the cause? Last season he was with Nash, and Step for most of this season, this year he’s been with many others. Just a thought???????????

    • Definitely affects a player’s game, especially a young player like Kreider. For someone like Nash or MSL, at this stage in their careers, you expect them to be able to play on any scoring line and contribute.

      Someone like Kreider, still learning the pro game, I would think line chemistry is an important component of success. It’s not the only reason he’s struggled, but I think it’s fair to consider that a factor.

    • You’re right Walt. Moving around isn’t ideal for a young kid like Kreider trying to establish himself as a constant threat and a power forward in the bigs.
      I think it’s more of a sophomore slump he’s going through. The NHL knows who he is now and who he can become. I still think he’ll come out of it and get his bearings. I suspect if Nash has a bad 5-10 game dry spell, that’s when he and others will step up. I think Zuccarello is or was playing hurt. He looks like when he came back from injury after the Olympics at the final 1/3 of last season. It took him 10-15 games to get back his shot and sneaky passes. Right now he’s not fooling anyone. I see him coming around too. Like Kreider, it’s a matter of time before both players put it together. Of course their center Stepan is beginning to come around after missing time.

      I don’t know about you all but I was expecting more from Hagelin this season. He doesn’t seem to use his speed the same way he once did. He still skates well but he seems to be trying to play a skilled game rather than playing to his strengths.

      Hagelin is skilled and for a small player he isn’t afraid to drive the net, but he isn’t spreading the defense out and I rarely see him hounding the puck carrier on the forecheck. Not a terrible thing if you’re a big Hagelin fan since he’s an RFA at seasons end.

      If AV has a 3rd PP unit in mind or even just a player or two he’d like to fit in there. Hagelin would be a good candidate. Even if just 30-45 seconds per game of PP ATOI. It may get his confidence up a bit. With Boyles departure to sunny Fla, Hags has gotten mostly tough mins.

      There’s other guys that aren’t quite playing to full ability yet. The Rangers have a lot of good players that could be
      plug n play on any line or Special Teams unit. I think AV should get some other players some rewarding mins for a job well done in tough spots.

  • Truthfully, sometimes I wonder if the light upstairs isn’t shining too bright with Kreider, if you know what I mean. His skills are ridiculous, but he just makes strange decisions with and without the puck, including an odd fondness for goalie contact. Can we even imagine the points this kid would have if the light was on upstairs?

  • I just read an article by Brooks in the Post, where he thinks the Rangers should move JT Miller to the wing, rather than center. It makes sense what he is saying, and it also would give us more beef on the wings, where we really are undersized as a team.

    Nash-Brass-MSL
    Kreider-Step-Zucc
    Miller-Hayes-Duclair
    Hags-Moore-Glass/Fast

    This is what the lines could look like, and that isn’t too bad. Or another possibility would be to use Kreider, and Hayes, and move Miller with Step, and Zucc. In any case, we get some size, and a little grit, while not giving up quality on the wings.

    Miller is not, nor will ever be an AV favorite, and why waste the talent? He played well on the wing last year, give up on the center experiment already!!!!!!

    • I like the lines with the Miller/Kreider swap. What do you think of a Brass/Step swap as well? I’d love to see a rebirth of last year’s Zucc/Brass chemistry. Can Miller maybe play the Pouls role?

    • You can’t leave Stemp out of the lineup but I would put he & Miller as the wings on the 4th line. Then I’d put Kreider with Hayes and either Duclair/Fast with Hayers. Actually I’d like to see what Fast could do with more offensive type players. Hags & Zucc should play together in my mind.

  • Where is Stepniac in all of this . Agree with Miller playing but i would sit Glass, Also try Kreider with Hayes they played well in College on the same line
    Nash Step MSL
    Krider Brass Zucc
    Step Hayes Duke
    Hags Moore Fast/Miller
    Also need to find out if Lindberg can play in the NHL at some point .If not trade him with Staal and another peice or two to either Buffalo for Stewart , or to the Peg for Kane and Buff . We need a litttle more size to go with our speed game

    • Stewart is awful. They have that guy. He’s playing in the AHL, Ryan Malone. Malone may still be better than Stewart.

  • If we are going to trade Staal, I’d like to see a multiplyer swap with the Jets to get Byfuglien & Kane.

  • Is it possible the refs and a couple of “reputation calls” have gotten in his head and he has toned down a bit and therefore hasn’t asserted himself as much?

  • Kreider having serious trouble finishing his scoring chances. He always shoots the puck along the ice. Good goal scorers have to be able to elevate shots to beat these goalies. Kreider is starting to remind me of Manny Malhotra (great size and speed) but cannot score.

  • You are assuming that Kreider’s progress should be linear and incremental. That is a big assumption. Not all prospects mature that way. More so, Kreider needs to learn how to play without his A game and how he helps the Rangers with his B game. Power forwards typically take longer to develop and Kreider qualifies as a power forward.

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