Projecting Chris Kreider’s next contract

June 19, 2014, by
Frank Franklin II, AP Photo

Frank Franklin II, AP Photo

Chris Kreider is one of five RFAs for the Rangers this year, but he is one of the two most important RFAs that the Rangers need to get signed. It was very apparent in the playoffs that the Rangers missed Kreider’s rare combination of size, speed, and hands until his return in the Pittsburgh series. Kreider is coming off his entry-level deal that paid him $900,000 in base salary. However, this season was just his first full year at the NHL level.

Kreider’s success isn’t something new, he excelled during his first year in the 2011-2012 playoff run. His defensive shortcomings were overshadowed by his production, but they could not be overshadowed throughout the lockout shortened 2013 season. His style of play (note: defensive issues) were not a fit for John Tortorella, and he was even cut by Alain Vigneault to start the 2013-2014 season. However, he found his place and his game and finished the season with a 17-20-37 line in 66 games. He was nearly a point-per-game in this year’s playoff run, putting up 5-8-13 in 15 games.

Finding a comparable for Kreider is a bit tough. He comes with the pedigree of being a first round pick, but he doesn’t have the numbers to support that pedigree at the moment. To find a comparable, I looked for players that put up similar numbers to Kreider in their entry-level deal and similar numbers in their contract year. I only came up with three, and one of these names should be very familiar.

Artem Anisimov was a second round pick for the Rangers, and put up a line of 18-26-44 in the final year of his ELC. He didn’t have the large initial contract, but he did parlay it into a two-year deal at a $1.875 million cap hit. He’s a bit of a stretch for a comparison though, as he played two successful years in New York before his deal expired in 2011. Anisimov signed his new deal when the cap was at $64 million (expected to be $70 million, or 10% higher, for 2014-2015).

Anisimov’s current teammate Cam Atkinson was another comparable I found, although he lacks the size and skill set of Kreider. Atkinson struggled in his first year before putting up 9-9-18 in 35 games in the lockout shortened 2013 season, the final season on his ELC. That’s as close as we are going to get in terms of on-ice production. Atkinson turned his $837,500 salary into a two-year deal at $1.15 million. I think this is a bit low for Kreider.

The final comparable I could find, and perhaps the most accurate, is Andrew Shaw in Chicago. Shaw signed a contract extension in November, during the final year of his ELC (this season). Shaw played a season and a half in The Show before inking his two-year extension at $2 million, and rewarded Chicago with a line of 20-19-39. Shaw’s extension falls right in line with the estimated $70 million cap for next season.

Internally, the closes comparable to Kreider is Carl Hagelin, who turned his ELC into a two-year deal at $2.25 million. Kreider has more offensive talent and potential, but Hagelin is clearly the better two-way forward.

Considering Glen Sather only hands out bridge deals to his RFAs, we should expect Kreider to get a two-year deal. Atkinson’s deal is too low for Kreider, but Hagelin’s may be a bit too high, as Hagelin had two successful years at the NHL level, not one. In the end, I’d imagine Kreider gets a Shaw deal, two years at around $2 million, give or take $250,000. It’s a nice bump for a kid that will need to prove himself to earn that next, big contract.

Categories : Players


  1. Walt says:

    The $2-$2.5 range is about right. If this kid turns it on, and plays up to his potential, he could see a contract in the $4-$5 mil the next time around!!!!!

    As far as a person goes, I like this kid very much. Low keyed, humble, and very smart. I’m glad he was given a shot, and proved he belonged in the NHL!!

  2. Melissa says:

    Agree with this but what are the odds he signs it before training camp starts? He doesn’t have arbitration rights so I’m expecting another holdout :-/

    Side note – think there is any chance Sather changes trend here and skips the bridge deal for Kreider? I would at least contemplate it if I were him.

    • Dave says:

      I doubt he skips the bridge deal with Kreider, that’s his MO with forwards.

      Zuccarello is probably the main concern. He’s arbitration eligible (I think), but he’s susceptible to an offer sheet. Slats always prioritizes his RFAs, so I think it’s Zucc, Brass, Kreider/Moore.

      • Melissa says:

        Oh I doubt he does too but was wondering if he should in this case.

        Definitely need to get Zuccarello done first but I worry that Kreider will be the next Stepan because he basically has no leverage. I do agree with the order you listed them although wouldn’t be surprised to see Moore done early because that should be an easy one.

        • Dave says:

          Stepan had more of a case because he had three solid seasons. Kreider has one.

        • Chris A says:

          Melissa, can I ask why you would want Sather to skip the bridge deal? I’m not picking on you it’s just that I see lots of fans say the same thing and I always wondered why they feel that way.

          To me, avoiding a bridge deal always seems like a waste of cap space. Better to sign a player for as little as possible to leave more cap room to sign/acquire more players.

          • Hatrick Swayze says:

            Skipping the bridge deal is a great move if you pick the right player. Example #1- Ryan McDonagh. Showed so much promise on his ELC that when it came time to negotiate his next contract as an RFA, Sather had 2 options. A) a modest bridge deal for 2 years (at say 3.5 mil) which would then lead to another round of contract negotiations after next season -OR- B) locking a player in for 4-6 years @ a # in between the bridge deal and what his next contract would require.

            It is all about player projections. In Ryan’s case, we now have him for 6 years at 4.7 mil, I believe. This is a much better position than say 3.5 million for 2 years and then his cap hit increasing to 6-7 million for the following 5+ years.

            If a players performance will outpace his contract dollars, it is better to get them locked up early at a lower #. The key here, though, is picking the right players. Too often we see the WRONG players paid based on DRAFT PEDIGREE and not PERFORMANCE. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a good example of this. Yes he had promise, but right now is not justifying his contract production wise.

            Kreider very well could exceed expectations over the next 2 years, thus leading his value to inflate before the following contract talks. BUT at this point, the sample size is too small, I feel, to justify locking him up at an inflated # for too many years.

            Bridge contracts are good for both parties. GMs don’t have to pay based on potential, they give the player an opportunity to earn that big payday. As such, the Players ensure that they don’t undercut their value and forgo bigger dollars in their UFA years.

            • Chris A says:

              Fair points. I guess there are a very small number of situations where passing on a bridge contract and simply locking the player up is a smart move.

  3. paulronty says:

    My gut reaction is that Kreids will sign relatively quickly like McDonough did. He’s an intelligent young man who won’t get into a dispute with Sather.

  4. Chris A says:

    I think you nailed it Dave. Just under $2M per to $2.25M per for two or three years is right where Kreider should slot in.

    I imagine Zuccs gets around $3.5M

    Brass a slight raise to around $4M, unless both sides agree to buyout some of his UFA years with a longer term deal which would push his cap number just over $5M per.

    And J. Moore gets the smallest contract of the bunch slotting in just under $1.5M for two years.

  5. Hatrick Swayze says:

    I remember that goal.

  6. SalMerc says:

    I think all the contract assumptions are fair – until a player balks at a deal or when you are last to sign and there just isn’t enough money available. While Zucc should be the top priority, he may be the hardest to sign. That may cause Slats to get Brass and the other RFA’s done before. I fear that will put us in a precarious position.

  7. frank cerbone says:

    Sather needs to get going with these negotiations.

    Say goodbye to Brian Boyle, then resign Dominick Moore.

    Lose Stralman and that means Staal is out of here. Staal maybe out of here anyways. His career peaked three years ago, and he’s only 27. There is only one Ranger defenseman that keeps Staal from being a 3rd pairing defenseman, and that man is Stralman.

    Stralman is 27 as well, but Stralman appears to be a late bloomer, and he just gets better & better. His ability to get the puck out of his end is better than Girardi or Klein. He’s only 5-11, 190, but he throws some pretty impressive center ice checks-something Staal wouldn’t even try. Clearing the crease is not easy for a guy Stralman’s size, but he is better at it than 6-4, 210 lb Staal.

    Pouliot is another must sign; there are just no 6-3, 200 lb, 27 year old 15 goal power forwards, that play responsible defensively & don’t have to be reminded to go to the front of the net.

    Zuccarello, Kreider, Brassard, John Moore will be signed, probably later than sooner.

    Next year Rangers will start slow, because Sather takes to long to sign people.

    Sather may have to trade some of our prospects as McIlrath, Kristo, Allen, & Bourque are either going to be 25 next season or have spent their entire ELC in Hartford (Mcilrath & Bourque)