Chris Kreider is showing that he belongs in the NHL this time around
When he burst onto the scene, he was an electric player in the postseason. In 18 games, he scored five goals and added two assists for seven points while showing off his speed, his accurate shot and an ability to handle the pressure that comes with playing in the playoffs.
Last season, however, was a different story for Kreider. Despite starting the season with the club, he played in just 23 games and had just three points (two goals and one assist) and was a -3.
It was clear that last season, Kreider struggled with his confidence and because of the inconsistency in playing time, never really got his game in working order to make an impact with the team. The organization noticed this and sent him down to their farm team, the Connecticut Whale (now the Hartford Wolf Pack), to work on his game.
Kreider rejoined the club in the playoffs last year and certainly played a lot better than he had been previously. He scored an overtime winning goal against the Bruins in Game 4 of the second round and showed that he had big-game ability.
Despite training hard in the off-season, Kreider did not make the team out of training camp this season. As such, he started down in the AHL with the Wolf Pack and ended up playing well enough to earn a call back up to the big club.
It is safe to say that in the eight games he has played this season with the big club, the Rangers and their fans have seen a big difference in Kreider. He is once again showing his tremendous speed, his ability to shoot the puck as well as his knack for scoring at the right time.
As of this writing, Kreider has two goals and five assists for seven points. While that might not seem like much to the naked eye, it is not just about the stats for Kreider.
Kreider looks confident, is going hard to the net, is creating chances in the offensive zone while also showing that he is starting to embrace the defensive side of the game. Kreider might finally understand that to play in the NHL, you need to be good in all three zones and right now, Kreider is doing just that.
While there is still much time left in the season and the fact that Kreider still has some learning to do, there is a good chance that if he continues to play the way he is right now, he will stick with the varsity team on Broadway all season long.