Defining what an all time Rangers great is presents a difficult challenge. We know what all time NHL greats are. They are the Gretzky’s, the Lemieux’s, Lundqvist’s, etc. These are easy. But defining a team level all time great generally has a lower bar. After all, there are only so many Gretzky’s and Lemieux’s in the world. Chris Kreider, in his 10th full season and 12th season overall with the Rangers is certainly making his case for an all time Rangers great.
The raw stats favor Kreider, as his 262 career goals with the Rangers puts him 5th all time. Next season, he will assuredly pass both Andy Bathgate (272) and Adam Graves (280) for third in team history. At his current rate, he will pass Jean Ratelle (336) in the 2024-2025 season for second all time. Rod Gilbert’s 406 is within reach, assuming Kreider remains a Ranger for the rest of his contract.
To pass Gilbert, Kreider needs 145 goals over the next four seasons and change through the life of his contract. That’s 36 goals each season. Given the high scoring nature of the Rangers offense and Kreider’s skill set, which ages quite well, it’s certainly doable. The 31 year old (32 at the end of April) has no signs of slowing down.
Kreider’s 52 goals last year may have been a unique situation. It seems, though, as long as he’s with Mika Zibanejad, his offensive potential seems to have been unlocked.
Goals are one thing, points are another. Kreider is currently 13th in Rangers history in points with 474. He has an outside chance of passing Camille Henry (478) this season for 12th. He will definitely pass Don Maloney (502) and Adam Graves (507) next season.
If we assume at least 50 points per season, which if he keeps the 36 goal pace is likely a low bar, then he has a shot at passing both Vic Hadfield (572) and Steve Vickers (586) in 2024-2025. If not that season, then definitely 2025-2026, where he will also likely pass Ron Greshner (610) for 7th overall in Rangers history. Getting to 700 points before his contract expires is also possible, where he would pass Walt Tkachuk (678) and Mark Messier (691) for 5th all time
Kreider’s clutchiness cant be understated either. His 37 career game winning goals is 6th all time, with Gilbert’s team leading 52 in his sights over the next few seasons. This doesn’t include the countless big goals he’s scored in the playoffs. It seemed every goal he scored in the playoffs was a tying goal from 2012-2016.
Injuries and longevity will play a role in Kreider’s ability to break these records. His contract runs through is age-35 season. Given the aforementioned skill set, notably net front presence, strong two way/three zone play, and his tireless work effort off the ice, there’s a chance the Rangers give him another year or two after this contract ends, perhaps tying it to the end of the Zibanejad contract in 2029-2030 (three additional years).
It’s hard to argue against Kreider being an all time Rangers great when he has this kind of standing within the organization. Objectively, he ranks among the organizations best in scoring while playing that solid two way game we often speak about. He is currently lacking a Stanley Cup, which would certainly cement his standing as an all time Rangers great. I am confident the Rangers can win one in his tenure, but there are many –including Gilbert– without one on this list.
Even without breaking these records, Kreider likely stands as an all time Rangers great. Plus, breaking some of these records may be a moot point, given Zibanejad is right behind him in most categories.