The New York Rangers are in a tough position. As the Feb 24 trade deadline approaches, they must make a decision as to what players, if any, will be dealt to other teams. Usually, trade decisions are easier if you are a team firmly entrenched in the playoffs, or a team well out of the playoff race. The Rangers are in no man’s land. They are still not one of the teams that currently qualify for a playoff spot, but are close enough to not do a wholesale sell-off. This is making the decision on what to do with Chris Kreider even more difficult.
Will the New York Rangers keep Chris Kreider?
Another that would help with a trade was if Kreider was not playing well. That is not the case. For example, in Friday nights game in Columbus, Kreider scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:11 left in the third period, and the New York Rangers extended their season-long winning streak to four games with a 3-1 win. He has 17 points (11 goals, six assists) in his past 15 games. Not only does this make the Rangers consider keeping him, but it also makes him the number one trade target for firmly entrenched playoff teams. Leading contenders include the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, St. Louis Blues, and Colorado Avalanche. To a lesser extent, the Dallas Stars, Calgary Flames, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, and the Washington Capitals could also be suitors. The interest is high.
Why doesn’t the New York Rangers just sign him?
Unfortunately, the salary cap does not allow the Rangers to sign him, and keep everyone currently on their roster. The price for Kreider is reportedly going for 7 million dollars for seven years. If they do sign him, that means that they will not be able to keep restricted free agents such as Tony DeAngelo and/or Pavel Buchnevich, among others. That is the balancing act that the Rangers must deal with. If they trade him, the reported asking price is a first-round pick, or multiple conditional second-round picks, or legit young players or prospects. All of this may be impacted by how well the Rangers do in the games leading up to the Feb 24 trade deadline. They are home Sunday against Boston, before traveling to games in Chicago and Carolina. Their final game before the trade deadline is a home tilt against the San Jose Sharks. The results of these games may go a long way in determining what happens at the trade deadline.