Should the New York Rangers Trade Chris Kreider?

New York Rangers, Chris Kreider

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.  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.  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.  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.  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.

 

Surging New York Rangers Head to Western Canada

New York Rangers

It would have been effortless for a young New York Rangers team to fold up shop after the Toronto Maple Leafs scored two goals in the third period, including the tying goal with just 53 seconds remaining in the game. But that didn’t happen. Instead, Artemi Panarin hit Tony D’Angelo with a pass that he buried for the game-winner just 52 seconds into overtime to lift the Blueshirts to the victory.  The win gave the Rangers two in a row and broke Toronto’s six-game winning streak.

Can the New York Rangers Keep the Momentum Going?

That is certainly on the Rangers’ minds as they head out to Western Canada for three games against the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, and Vancouver Canucks.  One of the keys to sustaining momentum will be the continued strong play at goal. Slightly lost in last night’s game was that goaltender Alexandar Georgiev stopped 43 of the Leaf’s 47 shots. This marked the third time that Georgiev made 40 or more saves in a game against Toronto. This follows Friday night’s reliable performance by Henrik Lundquist in their win against Carolina.

The other factor in sustaining the momentum is for the stars to keep doing what they have been doing. On Saturday night, Ryan Strome had two goals and two assists while Panarin added three assists, including the one on the game-winner. Mika Zibanejad scored a goal with an assist from Chris Kreider.

These combos on the first two lines need to continue to lead the way in order for the Rangers to continue their winning ways on the road. This also includes the intangibles, which include the ability to keep their composure when things are not going well. Such as the case on Saturday night when they gave up two goals that sent the match into overtime. Even with that, the Rangers remained confident.

After the game, Tony D’Angelo stated:

“I don’t think anyone was panicking when we gave up the lead. They had a lot of good chances and Georgiev played real well, but just like we got our goals, they got theirs, and sometimes that’s how the game goes, but we stuck with it and found a way to pick up the extra point.”

A great attitude for a maturing team.

Injury Update

The Rangers will be missing Brendan Lemieux, who will out three to four weeks after sustaining a broken hand on Friday. They recalled Steven Fogarty from Hartford to take his place in a related note. The Maple Leafs are without Ilya Mikheyev, who had surgery to repair an artery in his right wrist and will be out at least three months. The league announced that in the wake Mikheyev’s injury, the NHL’s laceration task force will meet to discuss ways of making the game safer at All-Star weekend.

 

New York Rangers Rediscover Their Power Play, Topple Carolina

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers knew they were heading into a critical stretch of their schedule. Coming off the NHL three-day holiday break, they tinkered with some lines and used some inspired play to down the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3. The Rangers top players came up big as Henrik Lundqvist stopped 39 shots, and Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejed each tallied three points.

Power Play Drought Ends for the New York Rangers

One of the most significant factors of the night was that the Rangers ended their 0-18 streak on the power play, tallying two power-play goals out of five chances. In fact, the entire specials units for the Blueshirts were outstanding as they also killed all five of Carolina’s power-play chances.  Zibanejad scored the two power-play goals and added his third point on an assist for Chris Kreider’s goal.  Panarin had a goal and two assists, giving him 14 points in his past nine games. In fact, the highlight of the night was not a goal, but rather Panarin’s spectacular pass to Ryan Stromme that set up the Ranger’s fifth and final goal.

The critical decision of the game came from the coaching staff, especially the video crew, when Carolina had a would-be first-period game-tying power-play goal by Sebastian Aho overturned after the Rangers challenged for offside. Both teams cited this as a massive momentum shift.   The only negative that came from the game was that forward Brendan Lemieux sustained a fractured hand and would be out indefinitely. In his post-game comments, Head Coach David Quinn didn’t have details on a timeframe for Lemieux’s injury or if the Rangers would recall a forward from Hartford.

Canada Swing Starts in Toronto

The Blueshirts will be back in action tonight when they face Original Six foe the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs also played on Friday, defeating the New Jersey Devils 5-4 in overtime. Toronto suffered a critical injury of their own Friday night when forward Ilya Mikheyev sustained a significant laceration to his wrist in the third period. He was transported to a Newark, NJ hospital for evaluation, and remained there overnight. Late reports stated that Mikheyev is stable and has full feeling in his hand and fingers. Face-off is at 7 pm, and the “Hockey Night in Canada” feature game will be shown on MSG+ and the NHL network.