Will Chris Kreider finally get 30 goals?

The Rangers should name Chris Kreider captain.

One of the longer running jokes in Rangers social media, aside from Chris Kreider being a perennial Calder front runner, is that this is the year he will score 30 goals. He’s never hit the mark, but he’s hit 28 goals twice. He’s also been on a 30 goal pace over 82 games in three seasons (2020-2021, 2019-2020, 2016-2017). So he’s come close, and if not for COVID he may have hit that over the last two seasons. But is this the year Chris Kreider finally gets 30 goals?

Kreider is currently on pace for 59 goals, with 13 goals in the first 18 games this season. He’s already close to halfway there in less than one-quarter of the season. This is by far his hottest start to the season, and it’s almost entirely because he camps himself in front of the net. The best net front presence in the NHL is currently shooting 23.6% on an average of three shots per game, most on deflections from in front.

If we assume the shot rate stays the same at three per game, then Kreider needs 17 more goals on approximately 191 shots remaining in the season. That’s an 8.9% shooting rate. Kreider has never shot single digit percentage in his entire NHL career, and that isn’t likely to start now.

While the obvious is the only thing that can keep Chris Kreider from 30 goals is an injury, his even strength production is certainly concerning. His current line of 13-3-16 is sexy for sure, but at even strength it’s 5-3-8, nowhere near as sexy. That will need to come up at some point, because the powerplay production will level out. He’s on pace to shatter his prior powerplay production bests, which will definitely happen, but it won’t be by this wide a margin.

Chris Kreider should finally get to 30 goals this season, after almost a decade of waiting for him to do so. It seems like a fitting beginning to the next wave of Rangers Stanley Cup runs. They began with the expectations of Kreider getting 30 goals. Now the next wave begins with him finally hitting the mark.