Chris Kreider extension: the cases for and against
Yesterday, the Rangers announced that the team had signed veteran forward Chris Kreider to a seven-year contract extension. Some thought it was a good decision, some had a contrary opinion. Here’s what some of our writers had to say about Chris Kreider’s new contract.
JohnLuke Chaparro: While I don’t agree with the term of seven years, $6.5 million for Chris Kreider is a fair deal. How much longer are the Rangers going to ship off assets to bring in newer talent, only to repeat the same cycle once those same players become of age? Do they deal with Zibanejad when his contract ends? What happens to Fox once he gets to that point? Where does it end? It gets to a point where you need players to help lead the way for the young talent in this rebuild. The Rangers have done a solid job of breathing new life into the prospect pool. It’s time to lay the foundation down and build from there.
Jonathan Marrero: Coming into this deadline I was pro-trade camp, almost the second the contract was announced I was against it. Since that time, I have done some thinking and thus I am now changing my stance. Do I believe that a team like the Rangers is entirely ready to strike? Not necessarily. However, this extension means two things for both the Rangers as well as the location of the rebuild. First, the pendulum is now swinging back into the competing swing. Second, the team values leadership. When it comes down to it, world class organizations care about the leaders.
If the worst part of the extension is that Kreider is protected during the expansion draft, then so be it. Odds are, the return of a 1st, a prospect and a NHL ready player, would have meant losing that NHL player in expansion anyway. Therefore, that player either, A) takes an expansion protection slot as well B) gets lost to expansion or C) they have to give up assets to keep that from Seattle. This is a sign that front office is looking content with their foundation and future core to build around.
Natalina Focarelli: I’ve been extremely vocal about my feelings towards trading vs. extending Kreider, and I hold firm on my belief that his original 7 x 7 asking price was too much, which is why I think the 7 year, $6.5 million contract works well for both sides. Kreider came down on his price, and the Rangers upped their term to the seventh year. At some point, the rebuild has to end, and while the Rangers are by no means out of the woods just yet, extending Kreider is the first big move showing the players, fanbase, and the rest of the league that the Rangers are ready to compete sooner rather than later. Gorton still has big decisions to make regarding his other free agents, but there are ways to still keep Strome and DeAngelo, which I think should still be a priority for him. The future of this team is a new number one goalie who will be one of the best in the league for years to come in Shesterkin, two elite forwards, Zibanejad and Panarin, and a slew of young defensive talents, and I think Chris Kreider knew he didn’t want to miss out on being apart of it.
Jordan Goldberg: This contract is a very interesting one for a lot of reasons. I am disappointed that the Rangers were forced to give Kreider the full seven years that they were trying to avoid. But at the end of the day, I really don’t think that extra year makes that huge of a difference. The money is not awful. Sure getting Kreider at $5.5 million per year would’ve been great, but that was never happening. Unfortunately, the contract won’t be amazing in four or five years most likely, but that is an assumption. With Panarin and now Kreider on seven year contracts, cearly the Rangers think they can win it all within the next five years.
Russell Hartman: Oh boy. This is a tough one to swallow. Kreider, while he is on an absolute tear currently, has shown to be an extremely inconsistent player throughout his New York Rangers career. We are talking about someone who has never scored 30 goals or even 60 points in a full season in his career. Yeah, the talent is there and he has amazing speed but let me ask you this… what happens in years 5-7 of this deal when Kreiders legs begin to go? Is that a certainty of what is gonna happen? No of course not and I truly hope he stays healthy and produces throughout this whole contract but… there are a lot of factors that worry me.
Jeff Weinstein: The Rangers extended the contract of fan-favorite and homegrown Chris Kreider. The term of the contract is 7 years with the AAV of $6.5 million dollars. Kreider’s unique skills sets are hard to come by and are not found anywhere else in the organization. Number 20’s uncanny ability to deflect pucks passed unsuspecting goalies is paramount to a team’s potential playoff success. His combination of size and speed could be lethal against tired defenseman in the third period and overtimes of playoff games. For the record, stated clearly and distinctly, I did not want him traded. However, The Rangers are still in rebuild mode. The Rangers are simply put, too young to make a serious playoff run. This current Ranger squad’s best days are still in front of them. If Kreider’s camp was steadfast on seven years and if he wanted to execute his right to become a free agent on July 1st to get it, then it would have behooved Jeff Gorton to continue stock piling young assets and let some other team over pay for the Massachusetts native.
Kevin Crupi: The Rangers made a bold choice in giving Kreider a 7 year/6.5M deal. The sad truth is that his play style isn’t sustainable. As we look to a comparable contract, we see Milan Lucic. Signed for 7 years at 6M back in 2016, his first season with Edmonton after receiving that big deal saw a slight decrease in production, but nothing to write home about. Since then his point totals plummeted as well as his playing time. Seeing an average of 13 minutes this season for the Calgary Flames, he’s amassed a grand total of 17 points (6G 11A). A pretty steep price for a third-line winger who has nothing left in the tank and three more miserable years ahead of him. We’ve seen how cap crunched this team can be and the unfortunate trades and buyouts the Rangers were forced to do because of that, but when young assets are going the other direction or Kreider is just another name on the Rangers infamous buyout list, then we will see the true price of this extension.
Steven Voogel – I like the AAV, not a fan of the term. I still believe players, except for the elite ones, drop off after 30. Best case scenario, Kreider at age 31 is the same as he is at age 28. And that’s best the case scenario. But we’ve all seen it with other players. And fans always say “It won’t happen to our player”. I’m not convinced this contract will look good after year 4. I hear a lot of “It’s impossible to replace Kreider” but you are replacing 24-28 year old Kreider with 29-36 year old Kreider. Those aren’t the same. We’ve been through this with Girardi, Staal, Gomez, Richards, Drury and many others. Many say, “It won’t happen to Kreider”. Let’s hope those people are right, but if you’re counting on your player to be the exception, chances are you will be disappointed. It’s the same strategy as saying at a roulette wheel “Oh, we should bet on number 37 because that number hasn’t been hit in a while”. Oilers fans were happy with Lucic, Sabres fans were happy with Okposo, Islanders fans were happy with Ladd, Canucks fans were happy with Eriksson and boy, were Ranger fans happy with Brad Richards. Will Kreider be the exception? I really hope so. I just don’t see it.