Let me start by making it clear that I like Chris Kreider. He’s easily one of the most fun players in the country to watch. He seems like a good guy, and I really, really hope he sticks around next year. I think he has a chance to be great, and I’m not using that term lightly. I don’t want any of what follows to sound like I don’t appreciate him or that I’m kicking a man when he’s down. I don’t intend to lob grenades at an injured player. I simply want to examine the impact of his loss on BC’s chances in the NCAA and Hockey East tournaments. In order to do that I think it’s important to dispel a seemingly popular view of Chris Kreider and what type of player he is. Let’s call it the “Kreider Myth.”
I think many BC fans view Kreider as an offensive threat above all else. They seem to latch onto this idea that he is very dangerous with the puck and posses the ability to break away and score at any time. I guess those who hold this view would characterize Kreider’s strength as his offensive potency (or a similar term). Obviously the image that sticks out for this view of Kreider is the nasty move he pulled against BU in the 2010 Beanpot. Even in this year’s Beanpot, we saw him crash hard to the net for some good goals. It seems a decent contingent of BC fans think this is the Kreider you’re getting night in and night out. I don’t.
For my money, Chris Kreider is the best skater in Hockey East. The kid can fly, and more importantly he can break away (even from a literal stand-still). In the latter way, he reminds me of watching C.J. Spiller at Clemson 2 years ago. This is what makes him so fun to watch. He comes from out of nowhere to scoop up loose pucks, and chase down opposing players/race them to the puck. I think Kreider’s break-away speed is what leads people to think he’s such an offensive threat. “Oh he can grab the puck and get to the net before anyone else. He must be a great scorer.” I don’t believe this is the case.
I’ve said before and continue to believe that when Kreider drives hard to the net he is a very good offensive weapon. Too often though, he breaks ahead only to stop and fire a shot from the point. I don’t think he plays our offensive scheme that much, and the stats seems to back this up. To date, Kreider has 11 goals and 12 assists for a total of 23 points. That puts him at a very respectable 42nd overall in Hockey East. Even so, 23 points ranks eighth(!) on the team. 7 Eagles have more points than Kreider. Further, his 11 goals only ranks 5th on the team. Neither of these are anything to scoff at, but they don’t exactly point to him being an elite scorer at this point in his young career.
So do I think we’ll miss Kreider? Of course, but I don’t think we’ll miss him where others are afraid we will. I don’t think our offense will lose a step in his absence. I think Carey/”Hayes-the-lesser” will step up and fill in just fine. It’s possible that with them playing more in the offensive scheme, our second line may be even stronger offensively. What we do lose with Kreider out is his great contributions to puck possession. BC does an absolutely excellent job controlling the puck. Kreider’s speed is very valuable in this regard. It’s how we can hold great teams like UNH to an absurd 12 shots, while getting 42 of our own. Kreider’s speed would likely help us control the puck against the highest competition. This is especially important if we play Yale or some of the teams from the WCHA. Fortunately for BC, I think we’re strong enough at this all the way through that the injury won’t jeopardize us too much.
On that note, get better Kreider. We miss watching you, and we’re better when you’re on the ice. (Please don’t go to
next year, it’s a filthy town). New York