In case you missed it, the Islanders re-signed Brock Nelson to a six-year, $6 million deal. Nelson, who will turn 28 when next season starts, is coming off a 25-28-53 season, a career best for him. Before that, his career high was 45 points and 26 goals. The center has only broken 50 points once and has only topped 25 goals twice.
With that deal, many are naturally comparing it to Chris Kreider and his potential new contract. It’s not a direct comparable, as Kreider will be 29 years old when his new deal is up and is not a winger, but it’s pretty darn close. Nelson’s last contract was a one-year deal at $4.25 million a season. Kreider’s deal expires next year and is at $4.625 million, which was a four-year deal off his bridge contract. Nelson more than doubled his contract, whereas Kreider will not. Kreider’s career high is 28-25-53 two seasons ago, almost matched last year by 28-24-52. He, too, has only cracked 50 points twice, and 25 goals twice.
If Kreider were to sign an identical contract extension, it will take him from his age 29 season through his age 34 season. It’s not his prime, but there are still some solid years there. It’s also a plus that Kreider’s skill set is one that ages relatively well, so while we would expect a decline, it wouldn’t be as sharp as say, Ryan Callahan’s. With every long term contract there is a risk, but if the club is looking at Kreider as the next captain — and next captain to be traded — then securing him to a long-term deal is in their future.
Evolving Wild’s contract predictor is up, replacing Matt Cane’s (hired by the Devils this offseason). They have Kreider at a five-year deal at $6.1 million and a six-year deal at $5.9 million. That’s right in line with the Nelson contract. For what it’s worth, though, they had Nelson at six years and $5 million. There’s usually a +/- 20% on these predictors, so that’s at the very high end. There are tons of outside factors, such as the Isles have no home and play in Brooklyn, to consider, but I think it’s safe to assume that EW has things pretty well laid out.
Using that expected 20% range, that puts Kreider with a five or six year deal at somewhere between $4.8 million (not happening) to $7.2 million. I’m betting that everyone will jump at Kreider’s deal at anything up to about $6.25 million, and then we will start seeing folks get weary on the term. For what it’s worth, Kreider at four years is $5.5 million, so there really isn’t much variability. Kreider’s value is around $6 million.
While the contract is a decision point for the Rangers, it is not the main decision. Their first decision will be whether or not to re-sign Kreider, which is a big deal. If they aren’t looking at him as part of the future, then re-signing him becomes a moot point, and he is likely gone at the draft. If he’s part of the leadership core going forward, then locking him up to a long-term deal is going to be inevitable.