The Rangers need this veteran forward to break out of his slump

New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) skates against the Los Angeles Kings during the third period at Madison Square Garden
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers have been rather inconsistent as of late. They started the year as hot as ever, but have since cooled down with mediocre performances riddling the lineup.

For the most part, there’s no real explanation for why the Blueshirts are experiencing this regression from their earlier dominant play. However, one player’s regression was expected due to this reoccurring problem in the past.

Chris Kreider has had a rough stretch of games recently

Chris Kreider still serves as the longest-tenured player on the Rangers. He’s now in his 12th season with New York, which has given fans plenty of time to understand how he plays. One common theme throughout each season is a cold stretch from Kreider, which appears to be happening right now as the Blueshirts’ struggles continue.

In his last five games, Kreider has only managed to earn one point — an assist five games ago against San Jose. He’s gone scoreless in his last four, creating a major hole in the Rangers’ offensive production. He started the year hot while his linemate Mika Zibanejad started off slow, but it appears that the two stars have swapped spots as Zibanejad has begun to heat up.

Aside from his offensive struggles, Kreider has also disappointed on the defensive end recently. In the same span of his last five games, he’s posted a bitter -3 player rating. It appears that when Kreider is on the ice, the only scoring is going against the Rangers.

Kreider’s rough stretch of play has had a serious impact on the Rangers’ success. The Blueshirts have gone 2-3-0 in their last five games, showing just how intertwined Kreider’s personal game is with the Rangers overall.

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Some assistance on the Rangers’ first line could help Kreider get back on track

Earlier in the year when Kreider was hot and Zibanejad was cold, fans called for the Rangers to acquire a new RW for the first line to bolster its skill. With Kreider now being the one causing issues, the same concept could easily apply.

For one reason or another, the dynamic duo of Zibanejad and Kreider seem to have lost their chemistry this season. Despite playing with each other year after year, something is off between the two stars. A new face on the first line, whether it be via trade or call-up, could refresh the first line and hopefully reignite the spark that once was.

At least the Rangers knew this would probably happen

At this point of the Kreider slump, there’s very little panic surrounding the situation. After watching over a decade of Kreider playing for the Rangers, fans have seen him hit rough stretches of play year after year. There’s really only one season to date where he stayed hot the entire way through, the 2021-22 season in which he finished with 52 goals.

It’s frustrating to see this problem occur on a yearly basis, but at least the Rangers know it won’t last long. Kreider started hot and has slowed down a bit now, but he’ll certainly bounce back at some point like he does every season. It’s unfortunate that it’s happening right now when the entire team is struggling, but his return to shape will be a major factor in bringing back the overall success of the Rangers.