Much of the news swirling around the New York Rangers this holiday season centers around the possibility that the Blueshirts would move 28-year-old winger Chris Kreider. But after watching him recently with linemate Mika Zibajenad, many wonder if this is a good idea.
The Case for Moving New York Rangers’ Kreider
The biggest motive in making the move is that Kreider will be an Unrestricted Free Agent after the season. Kreider does have a modified no-trade clause and carries a $4.625 million salary-cap hit. A couple of weeks ago, Kreider reportedly gave the Rangers a list of 11 teams that he would consider playing for. There are many that feel that the Rangers are unwilling to commit a lot of money to a player that was good but never achieved what many thought he would, even if it means alienating fans.
The second part of the equation is that if the Rangers are dead set on dealing him, is whether to do it now or wait until the trade deadline in February.Â There seems to be quite a bit of interest in Kreider, who currently is playing very well. Trading him now will give the Rangers the chance to assimilate any new players on the team for a playoff push. However, the general thought is that waiting until the deadline makes teams willing to offer more in one last attempt to improve their team.Â Creating bidding wars means that the Rangers can get the most in return for Kreider. In either scenario, with Taylor Hall off the market, Kreider is now one of the top targets of many teams.
The Case for Keeping Kreider
One of the biggest reasons for keeping Kreider is that he is a leader on the team and popular with teammates. An important consideration for a young team that has a fair chance to at least make a playoff run. Last year’s purge of popular players did not go well. After trading Zuccarello, Hayes, and McQuaid, the Blueshirts proceeded to go 1-6-5 over their next 12, which lead to a poor 5-11-5 finish. That would not be a great message for a young team.Â Then there is the chemistry that Kreider and fellow linemate Mika Zibanejad have built up this season. He is also proving to be a leader to a team with many young players.Â This may be what the Rangers are thinking as on the Hockey Night in Canada pregame show Saturday, Sportsnet reporter Elliot Friedman mentioned that Kreider is getting some interest but may not be available yet. It was also stated that the Rangers still have interest in resigning him.
The bottom line is that the decision to keep or move Kreider may hinge on whether the Rangers can stay in the playoff race. If the Rangers would falter before the trade deadline, the decision to trade him becomes much easier.