2019 Rangers Player Report Card: Chris Kreider

Continuing with the player grades, we move on to another third of the KZB line, Chris Kreider. Kreider started the year on a tear and was set to post career highsin basically all categories if he continued that pace. However he hit an extended slump and finished with a line of “just” 28-24-52. His 28 goals tied a career high, and his 24 assists and 52 points came one shy of prior highs.

Kreider is a beast on the ice, we know this. His rare combination of speed and strength is almost unmatched in the NHL. However he has quietly become one of the best net front presences in the league. He’s terrific at deflecting shots, and while he certainly has his fair share of deflection shots and goals, those don’t tell the whole story. I wish we had a tracker to show the number of goals the Rangers scored where Kreider may not have received a point, but was the key guy in front of the net screening the goalie, both at evens and on the powerplay.

Just looking at both of these plots, the overwhelming majority of Kreider’s shots come from right in front of the net. He’s almost impossible to move once there, as his lower body strength is simply incredible, and it produces results.

Much like Zibanejad, Kreider’s game has become very well rounded. He’s seen time as the 1LW on the top powerplay unit and on the penalty kill. He was truly one of David Quinn’s most trusted players. His defensive results should look similar to that of Zibanejad’s because they played so much together. He was third in xGA/60 and relative xGA/60, which puts him slightly ahead of Zibanejad. Nothing wrong with some healthy friendly competition. We also see similar results in their shots allowed plots.

As you can see again, the Rangers simply allowed fewer quantity and quality shots with Kreider on the ice. Now a large part of this is because Kreider, like Zibanejad, played with high quality teammates. That’s not something that should be held against him (or Zibanejad, for that matter), though. The simplest coaching philosophy is to play your best players most often. Zibanejad and Kreider are the Rangers’ best players right now, so they play most often and get their ice time with the other top skaters on the Blueshirts. It is worth noting, though, that since they are the best players on the club, they also faced the best players on the opposition. They played with and against the best and they produced on a bad team.

Folks are going to be disappointed because Kreider still didn’t hit that magical 30 goal mark. But without him, the Rangers are a worse team. There’s a very vocal minority that wants to trade him too, which I find to be silly (unless it’s in the right deal). Kreider has shown consistent 25 goal, 50 point production with superb play away from the puck for several years, and this year was no different. There isn’t much else you can ask of him.

Grade: A+.

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  • If Mika is the “standard” in getting an A+ then I think Kreids should get an A-, A if you’re feeling really generous.

    Re: “I wish we had a tracker to show the number of goals the Rangers scored where Kreider may not have received a point, but was the key guy in front of the net screening the goalie, both at evens and on the powerplay”: We don’t really need one, the eye test clearly shows his value in that regard — it’s not reasonably disputable, there’s no reasonable doubt here.

    • You can get a lot of this information. Contrasting Mika and Kreider, using the time on ice and plus-minus features of stats, we can see that discounting SH situations, Mika played 80 minutes more than Kreider. Mika was on the ice for 98 GF compared to 97 for Kreider while Mika outscored Chris 74-52. so the Rangers were slightly more likely to score with Kreider on the ice than Zibanejad. But Mika got a point for 3/4 of the goals scored when he was playing while Chris not much above half.

      Stats tell us that there were 45 goals scored when Kreider was on the ice without him getting a goal or an assist. And the eye test tells us how that happened.

  • I would hate to see Kreider go, I love his game and agree with Tanto about his net front presence. He’s a beast.

    As a side note, I stood in front of the Cathedral de Notre Dame in Paris on Sunday. 24 hours before the fire. As a retired FF, I applaud the tremendous efforts made by the brave men and women of the fire service in Paris. It is not easy to extinguish a old, heavy timber fire in a church without losing it all. They did a tremendous job. Thoughts and prayers and my heart to the good people of France.

  • I’ve been very critical of Kreider in the past… but a new contract at 7 mil per is not unreasonable. I still think he leaves a lot on the table but if he wants more than a 6 year 42 mil contract then I might not do it.

  • Right now Kreider is the one player on the Rangers who frightens other teams’ defensemen. Because of his speed, they have to start backing up every time he heads up ice with the puck, but even if they get back in time, he can just run over most of them. If they try to take him to the boards, he usually just muscles his way through them to go behind the net and look for someone in front. He is a beast, and brings a style of play that no one else on the team can provide.

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