Not too many New York Rangers fans knew about 21 year old Chris Kreider until his amazing game-winning slap shot goal in Game 1 of the 2012 Eastern Conference semi-finals.
Fresh out of Boston College only as a junior, he lifted New York to a 2-1 lead in what would be a 3-1 victory over the Washington Capitals. Kreider then went on to score three more goals throughout the playoffs, and after his first career goal against Ottawa Senators in the first round, he tallied 5 goals in only 15 games. He also had 2 assists and 29 shots.
After this great start Rangers fans couldn’t wait to see what Kreider could do in a full season. However, Kreider was sent down to the Hartford Wolf Pack for most of the season. In his 23 games with the Rangers, he managed a mere 2 goals, 1 assist and a -1 rating, plus 6 penalty minutes.
Last season was a big step up for Kreider, as he got nearly triple his Rangers’ games than the year before with 66, and scored 17 goals with 20 assists. He also tallied 5 goals and 8 assists in his 15 playoff games with New York in their Stanley Cup Final run.
This year is Kreider’s best yet. He has not been sent down to the minors yet this year, 61 games into the season, and likely will not be. He currently is tied with his 17 goal record for a season and has 17 assists. Kreider has been decent for New York on both sides of the ice with a +13 rating but has also had 84 penalty minutes, the most of anyone else on the team.
If Kreider were to eliminate the penalties from his game, he could be an even better player. As of right now, it’s his biggest drawback.
Kreider is in the first year of a two-year contract extension for $4.95 million, with an added $1 million bonus. In his third regular season with the Rangers, Kreider has continuously shown improvement as he continues to find his place on the team and in the league.
He has proved that he can play at the pro level and contribute too. In 2016, when Kreider’s contract expires, (if they haven’t extended it yet) he will become a restricted free agent, and I would not be surprised, and seriously encourage New York to sign him again. As long as he continues to do what he’s doing, hopefully Chris Kreider will stay with the Rangers and become a name very well known by the whole league.