Thoughts on Chris Kreider as a right wing
In case you missed it yesterday, Alexis Lafreniere will likely be moved back to his natural LW spot, and Chris Kreider will take a shot at right wing. In fact, he is eager to do so.
Per Gallant, Lafreniere more comfortable on left side, Kreider eager to try it on right, so that’s what they’ll look at if 13-93-20 is intact. For next game, Kravtsov will get look on right with 20-93. Gauthier will skate with Goodrow, Chytil. Lafreniere with Gettinger, Cuylle.
— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) September 30, 2021
The Rangers were looking for a way to keep all their top six together, and Lafreniere was the initial player to move to his off-wing. Kreider, who is more than capable, will be next up. As per usual, I have some thoughts.
1. As for Kreider’s ability to play RW, it’s not going to be a major issue. NHL players are very good, and are able to move to the off wing with relative ease. This is a guy that speaks multiple languages. He’s smart enough to learn the nuances between playing on his off wing. I am not concerned about Kreider playing right wing.
2. Lafreniere’s concern was that he wasn’t overly comfortable, which would normally be something a player works through. Given how critical Lafreniere’s success is to the Rangers, it makes sense the Rangers want to make him comfortable in the NHL first before changing his position. That’s perfectly fine. One thing at a time for a kid that is entering just his second year in the NHL.
3. Regarding the nuances of the position, it’s more about the defensive zone and work along the boards than anything else. In the defensive zone, if Kreider is carrying the puck out, he will have more vision to the center of the ice. His passes will also be more towards the center of the ice. It creates potential for quicker transitions to offense, but can also come with a risk of passing the puck through the slot for turnovers. Kreider is a very smart guy and doesn’t get enough credit for his hockey sense, probably because of his habit to be ten miles offsides at any given time. But again, this is not a concern about him making bad passes up the middle on a regular basis.
4. The other shift will be how he accepts passes along the boards. He will be on his backhand, thus receiving passes on his backhand will be a critical piece of his success. It’s definitely more difficult to receive passes on your backhand and then need to transition to your forehand. Quick decisions are going to be needed from Kreider, but quick decisions are needed by all NHL players anyway. This isn’t a new concept.
5. Conall said something in the group chat that made sense. All NHL players should be able to play on both wings. They are NHL players, and I agree with this. There’s a comfort level of course, and that plays into the Rangers making a decision with Lafreniere, keeping him on the left side. But Chris Kreider as a right wing is not a novel concept. It is not like moving a wing to center, where roles change completely. There might be a slight adjustment period for Kreider, but don’t expect a massive struggle.
6. I look forward to Lafreniere and Kreider switching back in three days, making this post obsolete. (sarcasm)
Categorized: Hockey Tactics