Chris Kreider Needs More Consistency In His Game


Feb 10, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) during their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Rangers beat the Maple Leafs 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

There are very players in the NHL who posses the type of skills Chris Kreider has. At 6’3″ and 226 pounds, the New York Rangers‘ winger is hard to knock off the puck. But what makes him so special is the incendiary speed he has in his arsenal. Kreider’s first step is as explosive as it gets. So, you might be wondering, why isn’t Kreider tearing up the league right now? Well, it comes back to that word that seems to haunt young NHL players; consistency.

In today’s NHL, you continually hear about the “process” young players have to go through. John Tortorella made that word famous around New York, using it to describe the struggles of players like Kreider. After going through the “process”, it seems that the next phase for a young player is consistency. That has been Kreider’s biggest problem through his first couple of years as a full-time NHL player.

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After a dominant performance in the Stanley Cup playoffs, Kreider was on everyone’s list as a breakout player for this year. But, for the second straight season, the Rangers and Kreider got off to slow starts. He only had six goals after the first three months of the season. However, Kreider soon caught fire, scoring 10 goals combined in January and February.

Kreider’s stats are pretty good this year considering his inconsistency. He has 17 goals and 35 points in 64 games. Kreider’s fancy stats are also solid, as he has a SAT% of 51.38% and a P/60 of 2.10. He is a great possession driver, and has been for the last two seasons.

People refer to Kreider as a power-forward, but that is misleading. A prototypical power-forward is like Rick Nash. A player who gets the puck on his stick, works around in the corners and dips his shoulder to get to the slot area. That isn’t Kreider’s game, and thats alright. His skill set makes him more dangerous than a traditional power forward because of his speed.

That, however, is also some of the reason for Kreider’s inconsistency. When the puck is on his stick for a prolonged period of time, especially along the boards, he looks unbelievably uncomfortable. For instance, the other night against the Islanders, Kreider was having a dreadful time handling pucks along the boards. Alain Vigneault saw this, and was forced to demote Kreider to the fourth line for the majority of the third period.

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  • That is why Kreider is always at his best when playing with a distributor, like Derek Stepan and Martin St. Louis. Stepan and St. Louis posses insane hockey-IQ. Both players understand when and how to get Kreider the puck. The best time is usually when Kreider is skating north-south along the outside. His quick burst gives defenseman fits, especially if they are flat footed.

    Kreider is so close to being a star for the Rangers. He is apart of a  new breed of power-forwards in the NHL, but this style is also part of the reason he has struggled at times. If he ever finds a way to level his play, Kreider can become one of the most dangerous players in the entire league.

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