LW, CHRIS KREIDER:
No, Kreider isn’t eclipsing the 50+ goal plateau as he did in 2022, but he’s still proven a vital piece of this team in other ways as he tries to live up to his $6.5 million salary.
He’s been more defensively responsible this season and has played an instrumental role on New York’s top 10 penalty kill. The 31-year-old has 20 goals and a +/- of 12 in 46 games this season, with both stats good for second on the team behind Mika Zibanejad. Yet, while Mika has done most of his magic on the power play, Kreider’s been feasting at even- strength to the tune of a team-leading 14 goals.
RW, VINCENT TROCHECK
Trocheck has performed as advertised at the dot with his 56.5% winning percentage and combined with the fact he leads the league in posts/crossbars, his eight power-play goals, and his 17 assists are enough for me to overlook his team-worst -7+- rating. The 29-year-old thrives off of the players around him. Although it was initially thought to be Artemi Panarin, it looks as if Chris Kreider and Barclay Goodrow will be his flanks when the team returns from the all-star break, as the line contributed with two goals in last Friday’s 4-1 victory over Vegas.
C, BARCLAY GOODROW
Players who can prove versatile and adapt quickly to playing on different lines are paramount to teams with championship aspirations. Barclay Goodrow has filled that role for the Rangers exceptionally well.
Last season, his first on broadway after being acquired from the two-time Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning before sighing his six-year $3.64 million AAV deal, Goodrow set career-highs in goals (13), assists (20), and points (33).
This year, he’s on pace to smash those numbers, as he currently has nine goals, 14 assists, and 23 points in 49 games. His trademark tenacity has made the 29-year-old the glue of coach Gerard Gallant’s robust line combinations while serving as a reliable penalty killer. He does all the little things right, giving his high-skilled teammates opportunities to do the rest. Akin to Chytil, the lone knack on Goodrow is his 45.5% faceoff success rate, slightly lower than last season’s 49.4%.