Rangers decision to extend Chris Kreider during rebuild paying big dividends

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

When the New York Rangers released The Letter announcing a rebuild in 2018, many wondered where Chris Kreider fit going forward.

He was just 26 years-old at the time, but would be two years older when his contract expired in the summer of 2020. So it was reasonable to question if Kreider was a fit for the Blueshirts long-term plans.

On trade deadline day (February 24, 2020), Kreider looked like a goner and considered a prime rental candidate as a pending UFA. However, management deliberated the pros and cons of keeping him around coming to a key decision that continues to pay off big dividends.

New York came to terms with Kreider on a 7 year deal at $6.5M AAV hours before the deadline. It also signaled an end to the rebuild.

So what was the thought process by the organization to keep him around? Those in the know relayed to me that it was an easy choice in the end.

First off, Kreider wanted to be a Ranger and made that clear to management. That being said, they calculated that the 2021-22 season would be the year the team was going to take off and Kreider was still expected to be a very productive player.

The Rangers also wanted some veteran players to help guide all the young talent they brought in. Kreider repaid them with a 52 goal campaign and a trip to the Eastern Conference Final last season.

He’s still rewarding them for their commitment to him today.

Extending Chris Kreider paying off

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

In 2009, the Rangers drafted Kreider 19th overall and have steadily watched him mature into one of the franchise’s finest players.

Kreider, 32, recorded 36 goals and 54 points in 79 matches this season. Along the way, he became 5th all-time for goals scored by a Ranger with 265 surpassing Mark Messier (250), Camille Henry (256), and Vic Hadfield (262).

His importance to the success of this franchise since his extension is even more prevalent in the playoffs.

When the Rangers needed a hero to force a Game 7 in their first-round series against the Devils on Saturday, Kreider scored a goal and added two assists. That power play tally late in the opening period tied him with Mark Messier for most goals in NHL history when facing elimination game at 16.


Through 6 postseason games, Kreider leads all Rangers in goals (6) and points (9). A strong showing thus far as he’s also surpassed some Blueshirts’ legends in franchise playoff scoring.

  • Most goals (40)
  • Most power play goals (17)
  • Most game-winning goals (11)

Kreider also needs just three more playoff points to tie the great Rod Gilbert at 67 for third all-time.

“He’s been great for me for two years,” Gerard Gallant said. “Kreids is a big-time player.”

On Monday, with their backs up against the wall again, having Kreider on their side could be the difference in whether or not this team’s Cup hopes will continue this season.

Regardless of the outcome, Kreider has been one of the Rangers best since announcing the rebuild.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

Mentioned in this article:

More About: