For about a year or so, it seemed that making fun of Chris Kreider had become the national pastime for the sizable fan base of the New York Rangers. He had gained a lot of notoriety very quickly as both of his first two NHL goals were playoff game winners. That increased expectations for the talented forward heading into the 2012-2013 season, and he predictably failed to live up to the reputation he’d created for himself as a breakout star during the postseason.
He managed to score only two goals for the Rangers through 23 games during the lockout-shortened campaign last season and spent 48 contests in the AHL, where folks loved to note that he wasn’t tearing it up either.
Fast forward to this season, and Kreider has 10 points in 11 games played for the Blueshirts. Yet it doesn’t seem like the kid is getting much love from the fan base, which is mildly baffling considering how quickly everyone jumped on the “Kreider stinks” bandwagon last year.
He’s only two points removed from second place in rookie scoring, while every first-year player is trying to catch Tomas Hertl, who has 17 points already. If you look at what Kreider has managed to do for the Rangers though, has case for the Calder Trophy becomes clear.
While he didn’t start the year in the NHL, he’ll finish it there. No rookie is averaging more than Kreider’s 17:43, and he’s trucking everyone when it comes to his points-per-game clip. So where’s the love for a 22-year-old that is finally piecing his game together at a time when it’s badly needed in New York?
No one else was getting it done up front. That’s why the Rangers recalled the guy in the first place (well, that and a slew of injuries) but as the likes of Ryan Callahan return, Kreider isn’t going to go anywhere. He’s been too effective, and it’s time that he starts to get a little recognition for that fact.