The New York Rangers will head into the 2013-14 season with minimal changes, hoping that a new head coach and a healthy roster is the answer after a disappointing lockout-shortened 2013 campaign. What would also help would be the emergence of one of their young players, Chris Kreider.
Kreider burst onto the scene in the 2011-12 postseason, instantly showing a knack for scoring big goals, potting five in 18 playoff tilts for the Blueshirts. With that performance in mind, many expected big things from the young Kreider heading into his first regular season appearance with the team in 2013.
But during the lockout, Kreider was never really able to put it together, at any level. He had a tough time with the Connecticut Whale, bouncing back and forth between the two levels. He appeared in 23 games with the Rangers during the season, posting only three points, and only two in eight postseason games.
It was a disappointing season, and that’s probably putting it lightly. But we know that he has the skill set to succeed. We saw it during that 2011-12 postseason. He has the combination of size and speed to make him a force in this league. He can get to the net and will play down around in the corners. His tools will make him an asset at some point.
That time could come next season. With John Tortorella now out in New York, and Alain Vigneault, Kreider will get a new opportunity to prove himself on a Rangers team that is need of some extra offense. Rather than going out and acquiring another forward, they could just plan for a rebound from Kreider.
Vigneault’s wide open system will play well for Kreider. If the Rangers put him in a position to succeed, which would mean in a top line or in a top six role, then we could see Kreider rebound and become the player that they were hoping they were getting when the 2013 season began.