We have four years’ worth of report cards for Chris Kreider, so let’s do something a little different. Let’s imagine that we’re a college admissions committee, reviewing his record to see what sort of student we have on our hands.
2016: “6'3, 225 lbs, speed to burn, and a quick release. These wonderful natural gifts should make Chris Kreider one of the best players not only on the Rangers but in the entire league and the 2015-16 season should have been the year that it all clicked. Instead, Kreider turned out to be one of the more frustrating players on the Rangers roster.”
2015: “While there were still growing pains for Kreider to deal with, especially with his zone play and definitely with his defensive play, you could see on the ice and on the score sheet that Kreider was definitely taking steps forward into becoming a very good to elite power forward in the NHL.”
2014: “There are still some kinks to work out in his game, but if the Rangers can get this kind of production out of the big 23 year old and his scoring goes up then the Rangers have a corner stone forward to build around for the future.”
2013: “Remember, Kreider has been through more than most players ever have to go through. He jumped from the NCAA to the NHL playoffs to the AHL and now back to the NHL. It's no surprise that his adjustment has taken time ...”
Do you see a theme here? I do.
Statline: 19 goals (-2), 17 assists (-5), 36 points (-7) in 75 games played (-4) 53.95% CF, regular season at even strength. (Difference from last season in parentheses.)
Is Chris Kreider the Rangers’ leading goal scorer for 2016-17? Yes. (His 9 PPGs put him just ahead of Michael Grabner.) Does it still somehow seem as if he could have done much, much more? Also yes. Kreider is a “watch the game, nerd” player for whom stats tell only half the story, mostly because for the other half, he basically leaves the book. Sometimes, he’s a force at both ends; other times, he circles the play like a surly vulture, doing, well … not a goddamn thing. He’s scored some of the most beautiful goals ...
... and missed others. He’s also committed some of the most egregiously petty penalties. (With his size, you could forgive him for putting a guy through a wall once in a while, but when Kreider gets grumpy he tends to trip or slash.)
For someone who’s 6’3’’, he manages to make himself invisible on a sheet of ice more often than you’d think. He definitely holds the record for tweets like this:
DONT TALK ABT HOW KREIDER IS DOING. HE'LL GET INJURED/SNAKEBIT. HIS GREATNESS IS A NERVOUS CAT. PRETEND YOU DONT SEE IT OR IT WILL RUN AWAY.— Beth Boyle Machlan (@bethmachlan) January 1, 2017
Kreider is the student who misses half the classes and either lounges in the back looking blasé/Byronic or wants to argue with every damn thing you say while being just informed/interesting enough to give his comments value. He gets a zero for homework and an A+ on the final exam. One day he comes to office hours and talks your ear off and you think the tide is turned; the next week he cuts every class and writes a one-word answer to the essay question:
“Running” Carey Price should not be this kid’s story, mainly because he’s not a kid any more. Four years in, we shouldn’t be talking about potential. We know what he can do. The question is, barring injury, why he doesn’t do it more consistently. Four years in, we’re still waiting for the click. Just imagine what that would look like.
Grade: A-, given resentfully
Stats and GIFs courtesy of @hayshayy