What Can A Team Friendly Deal Look Like For Chris Kreider?

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That is the grade that Jeff Gorton and the rest of the Rangers brass should get for this offseason. After locking up Artemi Panarin and Jacob Trouba long term, and getting Buchnevich’s deal done, the work is nearly complete.

The Rangers sit about $4.6 million over the cap with both Tony DeAngelo and Brendan Lemieux still left to be signed. I expect both their deals to come in at around $1 million, so the Rangers need to shed around $7-8 million off their books. There have been a lot of rumblings in regards to trading players such as Vlad Namestnikov and Ryan Strome, as well as buyouts of Brendan Smith and/or Kevin Shattenkirk to give the Rangers the cap relief they need. The biggest wildcard is Chris Kreider.

Trading Kreider

Kreider, who has one year left on his deal at $4.625 million, will be a UFA next summer. When his new deal kicks in next year, wherever that may be, Kreider will be 29-years-old. It is very possible that Kreider will be traded in the coming days to free up some money and bring back future assets, but there is also a possibility of an extension.

The advantage of trading Kreider is because I feel his style of play will decline by the time he is 32-33 years old. He is a power forward with a load of speed, and typically that kind of player shows a decline once they hit 30. Couple that with Kreider likely getting a contract of seven years carrying an AAV of ~ $7 million. This means Kreider will be 36 when his deal is up, and trends indicate a serious drop in production in those later years.

Keeping Kreider

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All those factors and looking at what the Rangers are doing don’t seem like a fit. At the moment it may not look like it, the Rangers are in a good spot cap-wise. They have a ton of money coming off the books over the next two years, and a bunch of young talent on ELCs. If the Rangers can convince Kreider to take a five-year deal as opposed to a seven or eight-year deal, that is something worth considering.

Giving Kreider five years, ~$8 million AAV is a much better option than giving him seven years, $7 million AAV. In a five year deal, Kreider will be productive for three or four of those years, having to only eat one or two bad years, as opposed to three or four years. Kreider can also get a two or three-year deal at age 34 if he chooses so. If the Rangers were to keep Kreider, this is the route I would like to see them go; shorter term with a higher AAV.

For what it’s worth, a five year deal at $8 million AAV totals to $40 million, where a seven-year deal at $7 million totals to $49 million. Would Krieder leave a few million on the table to stay with his hometown Rangers? Only time will tell.