Chris Kreider is coming off of a season that, for many young players, would be considered pretty huge in its own right.
The 24 year old native of Boxford, Massachusetts is coming off a career high season. He was good, in 80 regular season games, for 21 goals and 46 points — and with an already-developing reputation as a clutch player, the young forward is only expected to get better in the coming seasons.
Per Dan Rosen of NHL.com (s/t to the Score), New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault is confident that we haven’t seen the best of Kreider just yet. He’s convinced that this upcoming season, the speedy forward will continue to develop as an offensive force; the former NCAA winger is primed to be a top six forward in New York’s core for a while to come.
“I believe he can be an elite player in this league. He’s got everything to become a dominant power forward in this league,” Vigneault said. “It’s his time to shine now.”
The biggest question for the Rangers, though, won’t necessarily be how productive Kreider can be; it’s how they’ll be able to afford him when he does improve.
At the moment, the 6 foot 3 power forward is making just $2.475 million until the end of this season; at that point, he’ll become an RFA and will need an extension. Depending on how well he does, he could fetch upwards of $5 million — and that’s something that the budget-crunched Rangers will have to accommodate for.