Rangers Forward Kreider ready to lead team
Photo by Spencer Hazen ESNY/Getty Images

New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider had a great World Championship and is primed to lead the team next season.

Twenty-seven-year-old Chris Kreider did what he does best at the recent IIHF World Championships. The New York Rangers forward registered four goals with six assists for 10 points in the 10 games he appeared in for Team USA as they took home the Bronze medal. Of the four goals he scored, three were on the power play.

In the Bronze medal game where Team USA defeated Canada 4-1, Kreider scored two goals in his 17:34 minutes of ice time. He was named Player of the Game, but it was the manner in which he played the game that showed how good he really is. He led by example on the ice, a trait the Rangers have been looking for him to do back in New York.

On his first goal of the game on Sunday, he showed the speed and stick skills the organization and fans have seen before. This time he did it with confidence and poise and he picked up the puck from in between the legs of Team Canada’s Connor McDavid, broke down the ice, cut across in front of the net and beat the Canadians’ goaltender for a power-play goal.

His hitting ability was shown later on in the game when he took out the NHL’s best player again in McDavid. Kreider hit McDavid with a hard and very clean hit, knocking him off the puck deep in Team USA’s zone. His speed and size was key to the hit and is something he is capable of doing when he is on top of his game.

Kreider is coming off a very tough year along with the entire New York Rangers squad. After starting the season playing strong and scoring goals, he suffered a blood clot in his arm which cost him two months of the season. From a late December game against the Washington Capitals, Kreider was out of the lineup as he recuperated from rib resection surgery to resolve the blood clot problem. At the time Kreider went out of the lineup, he had recorded 11 goals and 22 points on the season in 37 games.

He returned to the lineup on February 23 and played in the final 21 games of the season, scoring only five goals with 10 assists. The injury and proceeding surgery took its toll on Kreider, but he did play with a different look in his game.

Kreider enjoyed being back on the ice with his teammates. When he first had the blood clot diagnosed, there was a concern he may never step back on the ice so he took advantage of his newfound opportunity.  The team he came back to was quite different from the players that he was so familiar with. Same team, yet new faces allowed Kreider to have a different outlook for the Rangers. He was now the veteran on this young team.

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As the club was eliminated from playoff contention, the old Kreider seemed to find his way and it was a great look for him and the Blueshirts.

As the team now looks to rebuild, with a new coach about to be named and new players on the club, the Rangers will need Kreider to take a larger role on the team.

Chris Kreider should be the next captain of this Rangers squad. He has the experience being in the league for eight seasons. Looking at the roster, other than possibly Mats Zuccarello, who is constantly in trade rumors, no one else is in the position to take such responsibility. The team needs a player who can lead on the ice, in the locker room and serve as a buffer between their new head coach and the players. If rumors are true and David Quinn is hired as the new bench coach, Kreider would fit that bill perfectly.

As the team looks to get back to the playoffs, Kreider will be asked to play more minutes and will rely on his scoring prowess to keep the team in close games.

This is the time for Chris Kreider to step up and be the leader the club desperately is searching for. He has overcome quite a lot over the last year, but the “Kreiderman” is absolutely the right man to lead this squad as the rebuilding begins to take shape.

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A graduate of St. John's University class of '91. I have been a fan of The New York Rangers since the days of Peter Puck. Founder of Ranger Proud, the Facebook page that covers all news, notes , pre /post game stats, and player quotes. Follow me at Facebook/RangerProud, Twitter @RangerProud & and @FrankCurto On Instagram, Ranger.proud