New York Rangers: Chris Kreider Proving He's The Real Deal

By Randy Holt

The New York Rangers quickly jumped out to a 1-0 series lead over the Washington Capitals in the second round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday. It’s a series that many expect they will win, and I tend to agree with that.

But as this series go on, I find myself more and more focusing in on one player on the New York end of the ice, with the exception of the very handsome Henrik Lundqvist. It’s rookie Chris Kreider.

Kreider hasn’t been in New York for very long, having signed with the Rangers at the beginning of the month. It was an addition that was expected, as Kreider’s status as a “can’t miss prospect” had him joining the Blueshirts very soon. Even early on, it’s looking like the Rangers made the right decision in not including Kreider in a Rick Nash deal, something that was speculated early on in trade rumors.

Kreider signed with the Rags prior to the postseason, but didn’t see action in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal matchup against the Ottawa Senators until Game 3, when Carl Hagelin‘s suspension left an opening in the lineup.

Though he didn’t get on the stat sheet until Game 6, it was still clear that Kreider was making an impact on the ice. He used his great size and his speed effectively to create chances, and has played essentially the entire time in the top six for New York.

He has three points so far in the postseason, with two gigantic goals for the Rangers that have helped them get five wins deep into what they hope is a deep postseason run. His two goals have both been game winners, one against the Senators and another against the Caps on Saturday.

Kreider turns 21 on Monday, and there’s as good a chance as anyone else that he could be enjoying some champagne within the next few weeks. It hasn’t even been a month since Kreider led Boston College to an NCAA title, and now he’s already setting his sites on bigger things in the NHL.

But don’t expect his success to be limited to the postseason. He hasn’t put up the points in his action so far, but it’s clear that this kid has the skills to be an elite talent, and is going to be a very fun player to watch for the remainder of these playoffs, and beyond for the New York Rangers.

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