During the early parts of this NHL season, Chris Kreider was looking like the favorite to win the Calder Trophy as the top rookie in the league. But lately, the New York Rangers‘ young forward has cooled off only scoring one goal in his last 15 games. With the Rangers struggling to score goals, they need Kreider to play better.
Kreider’s has been on the same line for most of this season. He has been paired up with Derek Stepan and Rick Nash. The line has had very few stretches where all three players are playing well, but usually one of them is playing at a high level. Early in the season it was Kreider, and during December and January it was Nash.
But things have slowed down a lot for Kreider. For some reason he has just lacked the ability to finish. He only has three goals and seven points in his last 16 games. Against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, he scored a goal, but also missed a wide open net. And when I say wide open, I mean wide open.
Kreider is playing at his best when he is pushing back defensemen due to his blazing speed. He has a unique combination of speed and size. But one thing that he has lacked is the finishing touch. Sometimes he tries to be too cute with the puck instead of just ripping his shot on goal. He has a wicked wrist shot which can beat almost any goalie in the league.
No matter what happens with the Rangers in regards to the trade deadline, they need Kreider to elevate his play. When he is playing well, the team has an extra jump to their step.