New York Rangers, Chris Kreider
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider is enjoying a fantastic year in New York, a dramatic change from a year ago when he wasn’t sure if he would ever lace up the skates again.

Frank Curto

For Chris Kreider, this holiday season is very special. He is leading the team in goals scored with 19 and has a great outlook on his future in hockey. That is much easier to do now that the injury scare of his life is far behind him.

Dec. 28 was the one year anniversary of Kreider’s blood clot diagnosis. An injury that not only threatened his hockey career but was a critical situation for his health.

Kreider left a 1-0 shootout win against the Washington Capitals on a Wednesday night with 22 seconds remaining in the first period. Rangers former head coach Alain Vigneault was behind the bench that night and knew Kreider had some swelling in his right forearm, but teams doctors had cleared him to play.

The Rangers forward didn’t play in the game too long. After taking seven shifts for less than six minutes of ice time Kreider went to the locker room prior to the first period concluding. The swelling had increased and Kreider was sent to the hospital, where testing discovered the blood clot.

Following tests, it was determined Kreider would need rib resection surgery. The procedure was successfully completed a few days and Kreider now had to deal with the uncertainty of relying on rehab in order to get him back on the ice. While his personal life was in crisis, his family on the ice was being dismantled and he could do little about both but play the wait-and-see game.

Kreider returned to the ice for the first time since that December game on Feb. 15. He was just thrilled to be able to skate with his teammates, his family once again. Kreider was medically cleared to return to game action on Feb. 22 and he was back in the lineup for a game against the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 28.

New York Rangers

Two months after the blood clot diagnosis, a surgery and a lot of work, Chris was back on the ice. The uncertainty over and a new beginning for the veteran Blueshirt.

Kreider has been a different player for the Rangers this season. He doesn’t have as many “off nights” as he has been known to do for long stretches previously in his career. His role is even more important this season as the team is rebuilding with plenty of young players in the lineup who are looking up to him for guidance and advise.

Kreider’s best way to lead is by example. He is back to skating hard on the ice with a chip on his shoulder that leads to hard hits, scoring chances and an attitude that excites fans game in and game out.

He doesn’t have a ‘C” on the front of his jersey, but that has not stopped him from leading the team into a battle every night.

His stats this year are quite impressive. He leads the team in goals scored with 19 goals and has 27 points. He has six power-play goals with eight power-play points which have enabled him to stay on the top power-play unit as he is one of the few reliable players head coach David Quinn can play with the man advantage.

Kreider’s best season with the Rangers was the 2016-17 season where he scored 28 goals with 53 points in 75 games. He is on a pace that could be his best season yet in New York.

An important anniversary, one with several important achievements but the same goal. To be the best Ranger he can be.

Chris Kreider is on his way and we all get to enjoy his journey.

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