When it comes to Chris Kreider, most people are on the fence about what to do. Many are of the feeling that Kreider will join the Rangers for the playoffs after the Frozen Four is completed. Others, myself included, believe that he will join the organization, but it will be with the Connecticut Whale. Both sides have compelling arguments.
Let’s first kill the first rumor: No one knows what Kreider is going to do other that Kreider himself. All we can do is speculate based on facts from the CBA and what the organization is saying.
The organization wants Kreider to sign after the Frozen Four, that we know. But, what is unknown is what that term “sign” means. Will he sign for this year? Will he sign for next year? If he signs for next year, does he sign an ATO and play with the Whale?
To address all three questions, the first question needs to be answered. If Kreider were to sign for this year, then he would burn one full year of his
two year entry level contract. His ELC is two years because Kreider is 21 years old. Three year ELC’s are for those 20 years and younger. So, Kreider would burn half of his ELC by signing for the playoffs. Thus he would enter his first RFA negotiations after next season. It accelerates his arbitration clock as well. three year entry deal. Kreider would burn off a third of his ELC by signing this year. That pushes his RFA and atrbitration clocks forward by a year as well. (Sorry for the wrong info there, and thanks to Paul for pointing it out)
That’s a big risk for the Rangers to take in a salary cap era, but it might be worth it if Kreider makes an impact, the way Tony Amonte did in 1991. This reasoning seems to make sense because Kreider is one of 48 players on the Rangers reserve list, meaning he can play in the playoffs.
On the other hand, the Rangers can take a more conservative approach, which would be an approach similar to what they have done more recently with players like Carl Hagelin. That would entail signing Kreider to a two year ELC starting in the 2012-2013 season, and having him sign an ATO with the Connecticut Whale and playing there to begin his professional career. This route airs on the cautious side and would calm the people who think that rushing Kreider is a bad idea.
There is no right or wrong answer here. The Rangers are in a unique position of being legitimate Stanley Cup contenders, so signing Kreider –if he can help– would be a boost to the club. Conversely, the Rangers don’t want to sacrifice long term development or hinder themselves financially (which could happen if Kreider pans out earlier than expected) by signing Kreider prematurely.
The Frozen Four for Kreider will either conclude tomorrow or Saturday. Soon after we will know what his choice is.