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Which line do you expect Chris Kreider to be on to start the season?

1st line - Zibanejad
2nd line - Strome
3rd line - Goodrow/Chytil

Previous Polls

Thursday - August 26th

A contract with the last remaining RFA, Libor Hajek appears imminent according to Mollie Walker in the New York Post.

In some ways it's curious as to why the negotiations have taken this long, with Hajek not projected to be in the starting line-up at this point and perhaps more likely to be used as part of a future trade or to be used as depth in case of injury.

Kaapo Kakko 5/8
Sat out for preventative reasons in last game
Julien Gauthier 5/6
Left the game after seemingly twisting/spraining his knee on a hit along the boards
Artemi Panarin 5/4
Is expected to miss the rest of the season
Ryan Lindgren 5/10
Is feeling a lot better that he was, no mention of on-going concerns
Chris Kreider 5/10
Mentioned that he had back spasms that he could not shake the last two weeks of the season
Jacob Trouba 5/10
Feeling much better, and probably would have returned this week if the Rangers were still playing
Read the submissions so far and see if you can come up with the best caption for today's photo

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2010-11 ~ 2009-10


No Rangers born on this day


  Born: Jan 7 - 1947  
  Position: Right Wing  
  Games Played: 536  
  Goals: 138  
  Assists: 224  
  Points: 362  
  Penalty Minutes: 161  
Should Chris Kreider remain on the top line

Kreider Third Liner
Posted by Toby Ivey ≡ 12:36:22 PM - September 2, 2021

Winger Chris Kreider is going into his first full season since turning 30 in April, having played 573 regular season games and 78 in the post season across his 10 year career to date.  He's signed for another six years - including this one - and has a no move clause through to the 2023-24 season.  The chances of him going anywhere soon are relatively low, though you can never seemingly rule anything out in this league.

He's also a significant reason why the Rangers elected to part ways with Pavel Buchnevich this Summer, with his $6.5M contract one of a number of factors that are putting the squeeze on the Rangers plans over the next couple of seasons.

Last year he put up 20 goals in 50 games, which translates out to around 33 goals.  In fact, if it had been a full season at that rate, it would have marked the first one in which he'd broken the 30 goal mark.  He also added an effective penalty kill role to his game, while maintaining his position on the left of Mika Zibanejad for most of the year.

Nine of those twenty goals came in a two week span on six games, from February 20th through to March 4th.  It included a hattrick in a 4-3 loss to the Flyers, that began the streak, and ended with a second three goal night against the Devils in a 6-1 victory.  In the other fourty four games last season, he scored just eleven goals, and that has been the story of Kreider's career - a streaky scorer who has difficulty maintaining the intensity over much of the season.

There are few in the league who can carry that kind of intensity for long periods, which is why Kreider is earning $6.5M and not $9 or $10M per season.

Over the past few years, Kreider and Mika Zibanejad have been a pair, with Pavel Buchnevich emerging as the right wing on the line over the past two shortened seasons.  With Buchnevich departing, there's going to be changes on the top line, and it perhaps begs the question as to whether it makes sense to perservere with the pairing of Kreider and Zibanejad.

Perhaps the biggest argument in favor of keeping the pair together is that the Rangers are already looking at two young wingers in their top six, and a third would present a relatively unproven scoring lines to go with the weakening of the overall team offense with the departure of Buchnevich.

Even while Alexis Lafreniere looks the real deal in terms of a top line forward, he's going into just his second year having played a shortened 56 game schedule.  Kaapo Kakko for his part is still finding his way and has not yet established any sort of chemistry with either of the top two lines. 

The third option - Vitali Kravtsov - is the least proven of the three, and while he did bounce back last year in the KHL, there's still much to be proven in his game, and a slow start or a tail-off late in the season seem a good possibility as he faces his first full season in the NHL

Another option would be moving Filip Chytil to the wing again, though given the dearth of top line centers under contract beyond this season, that carries it's own risk, and may not best serve the Rangers going forward.  While Chytil has plenty to prove himself, he's only 21 and has shown flashes of what he might be able to become, particularly early last season when he started the year as one of the better Ranger forwards.

So perhaps the best bet is to keep Kreider alongside Zibanejad.

Well, maybe that makes sense at the beginning of the year, but longer term perhaps he's a better fit on a newly constructed third line.  During this offseaosn, Chris Drury has focused on making the Rangers harder to play against, most obviously with the addition of players like Ryan Reaves, Jarred Tinordi, Sammy Blais and Dryden Hunt.  The foursome are all bottom line type players, but provide a physical edge that the team lacked last year. 

Perhaps their biggest bet, is the addition of Cup winning center/wing Barclay Goodrow.  Goodrow is a forechecking, defensive specialist who isn't afraid to mix it up.  In Tampa he played on a line with Yanni Gourde and Blake Coleman, to form a two-way line that forechecked hard, defensively hard to play against and willing to mix it up if need be.  As projected right now, Goodrow looks set to pair with Filip Chytil and Vitali Kravtsov a line that looks a mismatch from the start.

Goodrow's effectiveness in his role is somewhat dependent on his line mates, and neither Kravtsov or Chytil seem like good options to get in quick and put pressure on the defense, nor are they likely to be defensively intimidating at this stage of their careers or with the way they play the games.

Adding Kreider to Goodrow would perhaps provide a better option, though there is likely going to be an impact on Kreider's offense, as his role would evolve somewhat.  His size and speed, along with the defensive side of the game that he showed last year are perhaps better fits with Goodrow's game than other options.

Of course there's a number of other ways this could go too, and maybe the Rangers go more the route that the Islanders and Capitals have gone with using their fourth line and ultimately play Goodrow along the likes of Kevin Rooney and Ryan Reaves.  Perhaps Morgan Barron has a strong camp and makes his case, or perhaps the Rangers make a trade that changes the make-up.

At this stage I think the odds are that Kreider starts on the top line to start the year, but perhaps it makes more sense for him to make the move later in the year if the younger wingers press their case for more offensive time.




Profile of the Author:
Has been an active follower of the New York Rangers since the 1996-97 season. Began in 2001, and has continued to collect data and provide analysis on the team through to the current day.

 Additional stories from Toby Ivey:


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Sep 22   Rangers Camp Reports
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Oct 12   2021-22 NHL Season Opens
Oct 13   Rangers season opener
 More important dates...

Question Of The Day

August 19th, 2021

Earlier this year the Rangers won by a margin of nine goals as they beat the Flyers 9-0. How many times has the margin been bigger?

Sunday Sep 26th
7:00pm - Home

Tuesday Sep 28th
7:00pm - Home

Friday Oct 1st
7:00pm - Road

Saturday Oct 2nd
7:00pm - Road

Wednesday Oct 6th
7:00pm - Home

Saturday Oct 9th
7:00pm - Road

Wednesday Oct 13th
7:30pm - Road

Complete Schedule
May 8th, 2021
  1 2 3 T
0 1 4 5
0 1 3 4
SECOND PERIOD: 1. NYR Miller (Richards,Chytil) NYR 1-0   2. BOS Ritchie (Debrusk,Mcavoy) Tied 1-1    THIRD PERIOD: 3. BOS Pastrnak (Marchand) BOS 2-1   4. NYR Zibanejad (Buchnevich,Strome) Tied 2-2   5. NYR Lafrenière (Bitetto,Buchnevich) NYR 3-2   6. NYR Kravtsov (Strome,Jones) NYR 4-2   7. BOS Marchand (Krejci) BOS 3-4   8. NYR Zibanejad (Buchnevich) NYR 5-3   9. BOS Bergeron (Grzelcyk,Mcavoy) BOS 4-5   
Boxscore Game Thread
  Team GP W L OT Pts  
  Penguins 56 37 16 3 77  
  Capitals 56 36 15 5 77  
  Bruins 56 33 16 7 73  
  Islanders 56 32 17 7 71  
  Rangers 56 27 23 6 60  
  Flyers 56 25 23 8 58  
  Devils 56 19 30 7 45  
  Sabres 56 15 34 7 37  

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