The recent success of the New York Rangers prompted GM Jeff Gorton to extend his prized free agent, as he extended fan-favorite and franchise stalwart Chris Kreider to a 7-year, $6.5 million AAV contract. The news was announced on trade deadline day, as fans saw Kreider’s name taken off the TSN trade bait board.
Following the extension and deadline, Kreider broke his foot after blocking a shot against the Philadelphia Flyers and will be out 4-6 weeks. This was after John Davidson, President of the Rangers, addressed the media to share that goalie Igor Shesterkin and forward Pavel Buchnevich had been injured in a car accident. Despite the abundance of injuries, the Rangers still have hopes of a playoff berth, as they only sit three points out of a wildcard spot with a 36-28-4 record. They have two games in hand on the Columbus Blue Jackets, who currently hold the 1st wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers are 6-4 in their last 10 games.
Chris Kreider has a career AB Score of -0.28 over a 7-year span. He is coming off back-to-back -3.8 or worse individual AB performances and hasn’t registered a positive individual AB season above +1 since 2014-15. He has an impressive penalty taken/drawn ratio of 11:16, but an abysmal giveaway/takeaway ratio of 61:22. He is among the team leaders in +/- at a +17 and is Top 5 on the team in points with 45. Kreider has scored 24 goals and registered 21 assists for 45 points in 63 games played. In his 2nd year under coach David Quinn, Kreider is averaging almost a full minute more ice time than his previous career average of 16:07.
The money from Kreider had to come from somewhere, so GM Jeff Gorton decided not to deal any of the team’s talented restricted free agents such as Ryan Strome, who is having a great season, or budding defenseman Tony DeAngelo, but instead dealt former 2012 1st round pick Brady Skjei. An article on our thoughts regarding that deadline trade will be posted shortly after this one, and we apologize for the delay.
It will surely be interesting to see how the rest of the Eastern Conference playoff picture shapes out, and whether or not prized free-agent acquisition and potential Hart Trophy candidate Artemi Panarin, with the help of breakout star Mika Zibanejad, can carry the Rangers to a playoff berth for the first time since the 2016-17 season. More to come.