25-Year-Old Left Wing – New York Rangers
Chris Kreider Contract Information:
Signed a four-year, $18.5 million contract with Rangers, including $3 million in signing bonuses, in July of 2016.
Kreider (upper body) was cleared to play in Friday's game against Columbus, Steve Zipay of Newsday reports.
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Chris Kreider: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Kreider has been a bit of an enigma to this point -- his tools, pedigree, and propensity for scoring big goals have inflated his name value, but his fantasy production has been fairly modest to this point, as he's coming off a (career-best) 21-goal, 46-point campaign. Still, that represents some growth over the prior year's efforts, and Kreider can be expected to continue refining his game as he enters his third full NHL season. He's slated to skate top-line minutes for the Rangers this year, and if he can avoid falling into patches of inconsistent play, he has speed, power, toughness, and finishing ability -- and that adds up to the complete fantasy package.
If not for a late-season wrist injury, Kreider is fresh off his first full season (35 points in 66 games) in NHL, including 13 points in 15 post-season games. As a result, Kreider received his first non-entry level contract in the off-season, a two-year pact reportedly worth $4.9 million. Sure, one could argue his numbers are a result of the attention exhausted on linemates Rick Nash and Derek Stepan, but his speed and strength in the offensive zone cannot be denied. Although the 23-year-old may not get the nod for power-play minutes again this campaign and his positioning without the puck needs work, if anyone on the team's roster is due a fantasy draft ranking increase itís the Boston College alumus.
What a difference a year can make for the Rangers' budding forward. After making a splash in his NHL debut during the 2011-12 playoffs, Kreider spent most of the lockout-shortened season with the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL), producing just 23 points in 47 games. Meanwhile, he played rather inconsistently in various third- and fourth-line situations with the big club. Despite logging just two goals, one assist and 19 shots on goal in 22 games at the NHL level, the skyís the limit still for the Rangers' 2009 first-round pick (19th overall) out of Boston College. Additionally, the 6-3, 230-pound Kreider could be eligible at two positions (center and left wing) at some point this coming season. Both keeper and redraft owners should consider using a mid-to-late-round pick on the 22-year-old.
Kreider was a breath of fresh air for the Rangers in this past Spring's playoffs, as he matched a record for rookies that began their careers in the postseason with five goals, turning many heads in the process. As such, the former Boston College star will enter the 2012-13 campaign with extremely high expecations but owners shoud be careful not to overreach for the 21-year-old winger. That's not to say that he won't be a fantasy asset this season, but he'll likely be confined to the Blueshirts' third line, so his output may not match his draft position. Temper your expectations, but the potential certainly is there for Kreider to produce; those in keeper leagues will have to pull the trigger on him early if they want his services.
Kreider is a goal scorer with blazing speed and a hard shot, and he used both to help Boston College win a National Championship in 2010. Given that the Rangers picked him up as recently as the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and he's just 19 years old, Kreider will first have to pay his dues outside of the NHL.
The Rangers took Kreider 19th overall in this past June's draft. The 18-year old will likely be headed to juniors this season. He's about as fast on skates as them come and has a big shot, so he could make an impact down the line, though not for a few years.