Chris Kreider’s Rangers career likely coming to an end
Chris Kreider bursted onto to the scene during the 2012 playoffs against the Ottawa Senators. The 2009 first rounder was thrown into the deep end of the pool. Baptism by fire for sure, and he made an impression on John Tortorella and the Rangers faithful. He completed his first post-season with 5 goals and 7 points in 18 playoff games.
At 6’3″ and over 220 lbs, Kreider brought not only size but incredible speed to the lineup. Since his debut, CK20 has been a mainstay in the Rangers top six and been the big body in front on the power play. In 7 NHL seasons he has amassed 133 goals in 460 games (.28 goal per game). When it comes to the postseason he’s added 23 more in 77 contests (.29 gpg). Still, Kreider has never broken the 30 goal mark or 53 points in a season.
Now the 28 year old is at a crossroads that will likely find him with a new NHL team come the trade deadline on Monday, February 24th 2020.
Why Not Trade Him Now?
The Rangers did indeed try and move Chris Kreider to Colorado at the NHL draft this past June. Joe Sakic and Jeff Gorton couldn’t work out a deal and the offers from other teams like Detroit and Boston were unexciting to say the least.
Once the Blueshirts couldn’t find any takers for Vlad Namestnikov, they were forced to buyout Kevin Shattenkirk to get the needed cap room for DeAngelo and Lemieux. That also allows them keep Kreider instead of giving him away for nothing because GM’s understood the Rangers cap predicament.
Keeping CK20…for now
Soon after the Rangers signed the prized UFA Artemi Panarin, I learned that the Rangers were looking to hold onto Kreider to start the season.
Considering how young the Rangers are with two prized rookie wingers joining the lineup in Kaapo Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov, keeping Kreider makes sense on many levels. Kreider’s presence not only takes some pressure off Panarin, it allows both Kakko and Kravtsov to make the adjustment to the NHL.
Moving him at the right time
The time to move Kreider will be at the NHL trade deadline, no matter where the Rangers are in the standings. With limited cap space next season, and star young players coming off of ELC or Qualify Offers they will need that money for them. Kreider is reportedly looking for a 7 year deal at around $7M per, which will take him to the age of 36. That deal would not fit the Rangers rebuild plans. Even a 5 year deal doesn’t make sense for the direction the Blueshirts are going.
Come the deadline there will be at least a half dozen contenders ready to part with a 1st round pick to rent a player like Kreider. That’s just good asset management all around. The one thing that appears undeniable is that this looks like Kreider’s last season on Broadway.