Rangers veteran forward unlocking elite new aspect of his game

New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) plays the puck in front of Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) during the second period at Madison Square Garden
Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Kreider has been a key player for the New York Rangers over the last decade, and there’s a good chance that the current longest-tenured Blueshirt will earn his jersey a spot in the rafters at MSG when he retires. He’s been an elite goal scorer and power play specialist his entire career, and he’s continued to excel this season as well.

But at 32 years old and playing under a new head coach, Kreider has managed to find a way to expand his game to new territories and unlock a new skill set.

Kreider is on pace for a new career high in assists this season

Throughout his entire career, Kreider has been known for his goal-scoring abilities- particularly through his world-class hand-eye coordination that leads to many deflection goals. While that skill has carried over into this season, Kreider has also begun to record assists at a higher rate than ever before.

Per RangersMuse, Kreider’s 13 assists through 32 games played puts him on pace to finish a full season with 33- the highest ever in his career. His current season high is just 25, which he’s accomplished in three separate seasons, the most recent being his incredible 2021-22 campaign in which he reached 77 total points.

Kreider’s goal-scoring may not be on a pace as elite as that season, but he’s unlocked a new aspect of his game this year that the Rangers certainly need.

The Rangers’ first line is benefitting from the new playmaking Kreider

The Rangers’ first line has had its ups and downs so far this season. When Kreider was hot, Mika Zibanejad was cold- and vice versa. Not to mention that the RW had struggled all year no matter who was slotted there, up until Blake Wheeler recently began to produce.

Kreider not only scoring goals but adding elite passing skills to his resume is exactly what the Rangers needed to help build the potential of their first line. Zibanejad has found someone to set him up for his world-class one-timer, and Wheeler’s slow speed has been negated due to Kreider finding him on the ice at any time.

Kreider has always been a key asset to the offensive corps, but he’s expanded his abilities to new territories that the Rangers are benefitting from every single game.

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