The 2020-21 season was an odd one for Chris Kreider. Having had an average performance and a decline in his stats, the forward finished with only 20 goals and 10 assists in the 50 games he played. His performance was inconsistent, and it didn’t help that he was missing the initial spark from linemate Mika Zibanejad who was impacted by COVID-19 side effects. Kreider also missed the final 6 games of the season due to his own lower body injury. Overall, fans were left wondering if this was going to be the type of performance to expect from him going forward, and if he would ever have that breakout season.
Kreider’s 10th season with the New York Rangers was one for the books, literally. The Blueshirts’ alternate captain excelled, finishing the 2021-22 season strong with 52 goals and 25 assists, recording a career-high 77 points in 81 games while averaging 18:44 minutes of ice time. He was the NHL’s third-highest goal scorer this season.
He became the fourth player in franchise history, alongside Jaromir Jagr, Adam Graves and Vic Hadfield, to score 50-plus goals in a single season. He is now tied with Adam Graves for second-most in a single season, with both having scored 52 goals. Kreider also set new records for most power-play goals with 26 goals, and most game-winning goals with 11 goals.
Chris Kreider, with 52 goals during the regular season, now has six in the 2022 #StanleyCup Playoffs and 30 in his postseason career with the @NYRangers.#NHLStats: https://t.co/RGvMD50kFx pic.twitter.com/zeoX5P3DxD— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 22, 2022
It does not stop there for the 31-year-old winger! He was voted on and competed in the NHL All-Star Game, making his second appearance and finishing in third place for the fastest skater competition. Two honorable Rangers awards were also presented to Kreider this year, the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award; as well as, the first Mr. Ranger Award which was created in memory of Rod Gilbert. Furthermore, Kreider was also a nominee for the King Clancy Award and the Bill Masterton Trophy.
When we take a look at the advanced stats, number 20 finished with a Goals For Percentage of 54.25 at 5v5, a Corsi For Percentage of 50.37, and an Expected Goals For Percentage of 52.76. He also finished with a 8.6 Goals Above Replacement in 81 games which was an increase from his 7.2 GAR in 50 games of last season per Evolving-Hockey.
Grade: A+ | Banter Consensus: A+
Last year, Kreider did not receive high marks from us at Blueshirt Banter, receiving a low C+. However, this season he stepped up and put on the best performance we have seen from him in his entire career, earning himself an A+ across the board. I think it is because of this past season’s performance that fans were surprised to not see the Rangers veteran named captain earlier this month. But, Kreider still is one of the leaders on this evolving team filled with young kids and new faces.
There is a reason Kreider received both the Steven McDonald Award and the Mr. Ranger Award. The fans recognized his effort to go “above and beyond the call of duty,” while the organization observed his “exemplifying leadership qualities both on and off the ice.”
The expectations going into the 2022-23 season will be high for Kreider as he continues to help lead the team towards the Stanley Cup. Keep in mind that the Rangers got another taste of playoff hockey this past May. If our left-winger can have another exceedingly well performance in the coming season, I truly believe his confidence in his gameplay will only continue to help push our team towards a Stanley Cup run.
Hopefully this happens before the 2024-25 season where his NMC kicks in, otherwise I fear that he will become a trade piece in the future.