What Could A “Mega-Deal” Look Like Between The Rangers And The Oilers?

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With all of the rumblings coming out of Colorado for a potential Kevin Hayes deal, and a lot of interest coming in for Zuccarello, where does Chris Kreider stand in all of this?

I am a proponent of trading Kreider before the deadline because his stock is at the highest it has ever been, and will ever be. In a previous article, I discussed the problems that can come with keeping Kreider around. He will be 29 when a new contract kicks in and it will fetch a contract in the six or seven year range at an AAV of at least $6.5 million, in my opinion.

I personally do not see how this fits, but there is obviously an extremely strong case to keep Kreider. He is a top 25 winger in the NHL having a marvelous season. He has become a leader on this young Rangers team, and has quite the team-friendly contract for the rest of this year plus next year; he is making $4.625 million this year and next. Let’s take a look at what he might be able to fetch.

Last year, the Rangers made a blockbuster deal in trading captain Ryan McDonagh and JT Miller to Tampa for a haul. The Rangers received a roster player in Vlad Namestnikov, prospects Libor Hajek, and now NHLer Brett Howden, a first-round pick in the 2018 draft, and a conditional second-round pick in the 2019 draft which becomes a first if Tampa wins the Stanley Cup this year. This is a MASSIVE haul, and the Rangers got this haul because they sold high on McDonagh.

So what’s a possible fit for Kreider that may be able to get a haul like the one Gorton got from Tampa? In recent reports, the Oilers have been fishing around the idea of Mats Zuccarello. We all know what tremendous pressure GM Peter Chiarelli is under this season, and what missing the playoffs may mean for his fate in Edmonton. We also know the quick trigger-finger Chiarelli has when he is under pressure i.e. Adam Larson for Taylor Hall.

In a recent tweet, I discussed how I would like to see Rangers brass try and make some higher-level deals rather than the typical “trading a rental for a pick and a prospect”. A perfect suitor for this situation, in my opinion, would be the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton is desperate to make the playoffs, as mentioned before, and Kreider and Zuccarello would help them do that. Not to mention that Chiarelli is the kind of guy to sell the farm for good roster players, and they have nice pieces.

Chiarelli recently mentioned that their 2019 first-round pick, and 20-year-old Finnish forward Jesse Puljujärvi are available; two pieces I would be very interested in. I think Puljujärvi hasn’t been used the right way in Edmonton and would flourish here. As for their 2019 first-round pick, it is one that might make it to the lottery which enhances the Rangers’ chances of landing in the top three.

So what could a “mega-trade” with Edmonton look like? I was poking around with numbers and the only way a deal of this magnitude works is if the Rangers ate 50 percent of both Zuccarello and Kreider’s contracts, which I am ok with. So tell me what you think about this:

To Edmonton: Mats Zuccarello ($4.5 million, UFA summer 2019) and Chris Kreider ($4.625 million, UFA summer 2020) at 50% salary retain.

To New York: Jesse Puljujärvi (RFA 2019), Oilers 2019 second-round pick (maybe conditional if Zuccarello re-signs), Tyler Benson or Kailer Yamamoto.

It is a similar deal to that of the one done with Tampa last year. Zuccarello (being the Miller comparison) and Puljujärvi (being the Namestnikov comparison) are somewhat of a swap, and both due for contracts this summer (yes, Puljujärvi is an RFA and Zuccarello is a UFA). Then you’d have Krieder (being the McDonagh relation) for the pick, Benson or Yamamoto.

Editor’s Note: Following Edmonton’s 3-2 loss against Detroit on Tuesday night, the team dismissed Peter Chiarelli. It’ll be interesting to see not only who the new GM is, but also how they approach the current Oilers roster.

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