The real fantasy lowdown on goalie nemesis Chris Kreider, plus Lars Eller
This week, the Eastern Edge takes a look at two players who haven’t fully established themselves at the NHL level yet, but will be looking to parlay this year’s playoff success into breakout campaigns in 2014-15.
Chris Kreider burst onto the NHL scene with a surprising playoff performance back in 2011-12. In his final season of college hockey, he recorded 45 points in 44 games for Boston College and then jumped right into the NHL playoffs, where he scored seven points in 18 games.
Kreider struggled the following season, recording only three points in 23 NHL games and had a decent stint in the AHL with 23 points in 48 games. He couldn’t reproduce the playoff magic from the previous season and only notched two points in eight playoff games for the Rangers.
This season, the 23-year-old fared much better, scoring four points in six AHL games and 37 points in 66 NHL contests, a 46 point pro-rated pace over 82 games. He’s doing even better in this year’s playoffs, scoring at close to a point per game clip (11 points in 13 games).
One key component of his success is that he is getting top six ice time with skilled players. In his inaugural playoff performance in 2011-12, Kreider played mostly with Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan. In his first NHL regular season, he played on many different line combinations for John Tortorella, the top two being with Callahan and Brad Richards (12 percent of his even-strength shifts), as well as with Arron Asham and Darroll Powe (10.5 percent).
This past season, Kreider played the vast majority of his even-strength shifts with Rick Nash/Derek Stepan (54 percent) and Mats Zuccarello/Derek Stepan (22 percent). In these playoffs, his linemates more than 75 percent of the time were Stepan and Nash.