To trade Chris Kreider or not to trade Chris Kreider: That is the question

One of the bigger questions about this offseason isn’t about the blue line, or about free agency, or about the draft. It’s about Chris Kreider. The 28 year old winger is on the last year of his deal and carries a $4.625 million cap hit. He’s due a raise next season, given that he’s a consistent 20-goal scorer who has gotten to 28 goals in two of the past three seasons. He’s consistently around 45 points, although he has crossed over 50 points in two of the last three years (2017-2018 was a rough one for Kreider).

The fanbase appears to be divided here, and it appears to be an almost even split between those who want to trade him and those who want to re-sign him, likely in the six-year, $6 million range. While it doesn’t necessarily matter what we want to happen, it does matter what and how Jeff Gorton, John Davidson, and the soon-to-be revamped Rangers front office wants to accelerate this rebuild.

What puzzles me about all this Kreider talk is that the camp that wants to trade him is divided into two parts. The first recognizes his actual value, talent, and rare combination of speed, skill, and brute strength, and his penchant for late-game dramatic goals. This group recognizes that in a continued rebuild, dealing Kreider lands a bunch of pieces. The second group just dislikes Kreider because…reasons?…and just wants him gone. We can ignore this second group.

The one thing we know for sure is that, barring an actual hockey trade in which the Rangers dangle Kreider for a true top defenseman, any Kreider trade doesn’t accelerate the rebuild. Any trade used to acquire draft picks or prospects is a step in the rebuild direction and not in the acceleration direction. That doesn’t necessarily rule out a trade, but it guides us into what kind of trade to expect.

Kreider for Jacob Trouba, straight up, has been floated again and again. I don’t think that makes sense for Winnipeg. If you expect that Kreider, in any trade, would be headed to the Western Conference, then there aren’t many teams that have the cap space for him that are truly competing. There’s certainly deals to be made here, though.

Trading Kreider eliminates a risk of him not re-signing in New York. It also eliminates the risk of a bad contract being on the books for way too long. We are all a little shell shocked when it comes to big deals for players who are approaching their thirties. There is certainly a strong argument for this.

The counterpoint is that by trading Kreider, you rely too much on the hype train of Kaapo Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov making the leap to the NHL and being impact/top-six players immediately. You also rely too much on backing up the truck for Artemi Panarin. There are too many question marks there to assume the team can accelerate the rebuild without Kreider.

This situation is a prime opportunity for the Blueshirts to remember their mistakes. Looking back at the Derek Stepan trade, the Blueshirts assumed they would get Lias Andersson –the target was Elias Petterson, but the Rangers couldn’t move up from #7. That’s a story for another day– into the lineup right away, and that Tony DeAngelo would figure it all out. Neither of those things happened and the Rangers fell off a cliff in that 2017-2018 season. Thus the rebuild began.

That’s not to say trading Stepan was a mistake. That’s noting that trading a roster player with the expectation of kids and/or free agents filling that gap is a mistake. It’s a big mistake. In the effort to accelerate a rebuild, giving Kakko, Kravtsov, and the other rookies time to acclimate to the NHL is almost as important as giving them the minutes they deserve.

Another risk of trading Kreider: The Rangers lose basically their only net-front presence. Kreider was a beast in front of the net. In terms of on-ice impact, Kreider’s strength in front and his significantly improved deflection and screening skills are almost invaluable. For a Rangers team that wants to get better quickly, trading one of your best forwards, who happens to have significant chemistry with your 1C and a budding winger who appears to be on the cusp of a breakout year, doesn’t accomplish that goal.

Then again, in the right deal, Kreider is far from untouchable. It’s all a grey area.

What do you think the Rangers should do?

"To trade Chris Kreider or not to trade Chris Kreider: That is the question", 1 out of 5 based on 5 ratings.
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  1. trading Kreider without having panarin signed on the dotted line would be malpractice imo. (not that it should be an either or scenario) they cant just keep flipping players while expecting fans to pay for a premium product. 3 designed losing seasons (including an uber prospect) is more than enough .

    1. Kreider is a winner. He has great chemistry with Zib and a leader that this young Ranger team needs. Unless he is asking a stupid pricetag the Rangers need to ink him.

      1. Agree. It would be foolish to trade Kreider. I don’t see him going downhill before 34.

  2. IMO, it comes down to term with CK.

    If he will take 4 maybe 5 years, then I see him re-signed. Past that in years? I think that he’s traded.

    And this has nothing to do whether Panarin is here or not, no effect on CK’s situation.

  3. Like Tony above, no more than 5 years, and cost should be as reasonable as we can get. I like the chemistry he, and Zib have, with Buch coming on at the end of the season, they looked to be a good line. I’m not in the camp of giving up on Chris for Trouba, too much for someone who wants here next year, why give away the store for him.

    Chris has his shortcomings as well, but he has produced for us a long time, and should be rewarded for it. People defended Staal, and Girardi in the past for their service, why not Chris? I’m for keeping him, but if the right return is there, then we have to make the move. If the demands are too great, and he wants too long a term, then again we make a move. It’s got to be a win-win for the player, and the team!!!!!!!!

    1. Loyalty is a bad reason to sign someone. That’s how you get contracts like Staal’s and Girardi’s. Like others have said I think it all comes down to term and asking price. I do think if Panarin is signed then it’s more likely that Kreider will be moved.

      1. I’m advocating for resigning Kreider, and not for loyalty, but because he performed well and deserves it !!!!!!!! You may have misread it……….

        1. I may have misread. I was just responding to the people having no issues with the Girardi and Staal contracts.

    2. Kreider is the one player over the last four years or so I never wanted to see traded. I always thought this is the year he breaks out big-time and scores 35-40 goals. And if we do trade him, he would be the type of player that would come back to haunt us in one way or another.

      Now I am not so sure. He has all the tools for sure. He’s good in a lot of areas and he seems to be a great teammate but he just doesn’t seem to be able to put a monster season together.

      I would lean toward not trading him just to keep a little continuity and leadership on the team. And hey, he speaks fluent Russian. That’s enough reason to keep him right there….

      1. If Kreider could keep his stick on the ice on a consistent basis he would’ve broken 30 years ago.

        You know the drill: frontload with a year 1 bonus, take him to age 34. That gives him one more chance at a decent contract without all the age 35 issues, then does 1 year bonus driven deals till the skates fall off.

        Kreider’s game sets up for a long ride into his late thirties: elite skater, big guy(but no longer carrying unneeded weight) who occasionally plays a heavy game.

  4. If there was a deal to be made at this past deadline then the Rangers missed the boat. Of course, we don’t know for sure. A big, fast, scoring winger that needs constant attention from the opposing defense would have been valuable to a contending team in the playoffs. They would have had 2 years of playoffs with him. I think we could have gotten a lot, both in picks and a VERY good prospect.

    Unfortunately, if there was a deal… that ship has sailed. Now, IMO, he is the one holding the cards and his asking price for a new contract will be high.

    1. Cat

      “Now, IMO, he is the one holding the cards and his asking price for a new contract will be high.”

      I’m afraid you hit the nail on the head with this remark, and that’s what I fear!!!!!!!

      1. Time to move out the old and bring in the new. Package Krieder and Smith for a great young prospect and a future pick. We have too many guys who are used to losing. We need to change the mentality of this team towards a new winning attitude. Give Zibby the “C” and move on. CK is a nice player, but if he wants $7M for 5 years, that is too rich for my blood.

      2. Right Walt… I think he starts off with the 8 year contract then his agent will try for the 7/7+ (49 – 55 mil) contract I hope he doesn’t get. But the question is, can he get that on the open market, there are some dumb GM’s out there.

  5. You have to bring in a big ticket UFA forward before trading him ….you can’t just trade him for picks that we won’t see for 4-5 years….I think he’s gone tho. I would give him Tony’s deal ….20 def has his issues

  6. Keep Kreider if he signs for 4yrs I’m good with that. Seems to be a solid guy in the room and he does speak Russian. That would help with the other young Russian players coming over. The price has to be fair. Stop with the Panarin and Trouba talk please it’s a REBUILD. First let’s see what in house.

  7. You sign Kreider at 6 years 6 million all day long. Jeff Skinner just got 8 years at 9 per. Last year E Kane (2 years younger) got 7×7. While they both score more goals than Kreider, he influences the game (shots for vs against) significantly better than both of those guys. He will be a positive influence that will help shelter Kakko, Kratsov, etc. Ppl will miss him when he’s gone.

    1. Skinner got 72 million, so Kreider will take half that? Do you realize how that sounds?

      1. No- I dont think he will sign for 6×6. I took that figure from paragraph 2 of the featured article.

        My point being- signing him at that money is a no brainer.

    2. Agreed Hatrick. The Rangers do not have a plethora of forwards and do not have many of Kreider’s quality. 6 years might be a bit long at his age, but somebody will offer him that kind of term so the Rangers will have to be in the ballpark. Chris is an impact player, plays a strong game and is a force in front of the net. He has leadership qualities and already acts as the leader on the team on the ice with officials. He is a bright guy and in my opinion their next captain.

      I’d keep him unless someone blows us away with an offer.

  8. JD mentioned last week that Vet leadership with a winning mentality on the ice is vital.
    Kreider is all that, and speaks the languages.

    A reasonable contract with term makes his stay worth it.
    The net front presence issue mentioned is more important than discussed.
    He’s a 50pt player. Even when surrounded by better players.
    I could argue this, grow a better one, until then he stays put.

    The notion of trading him away for some what if’s in 4 years – not smart.

  9. #20 is important enough to keep on this team even if the contract isn’t ideal.

    Although, a trade involving solid defensive improvement is more important than #20 is to this organization.


  10. If I have to and there’s no offer I can’t refuse, I could see even going all the way up to 6 years at $6m … why? Because … reasons …. No, it’s just that Kreider is an impeccable specimen, a beast. His training regimen should keep him pretty fresh for the next 4-5 years,. he’s never proven to be injury prone despite his style of play. The 30 year old rule just might not apply to a guy like Kreider … and as Dave correctly pointed out, he does things other players on this team can’t/won’t do. So yeah, 4 years would be awesome, 5 years would be nice but 6 for me at least is doable — especially if they don’t go full NMC/NTC.

  11. All the way up to 6 years at 6 million? If Kreider is reading these posts he’s laughing so hard he’s peeing his pants. He’s only one year older than Skinner, his ppg average over the last 4 or 5 years isn’t far off from Skinner either. They’re both LW’s that have serious impact on games. Skinner got 72 million!

    Face it gents, he’s going to ask for the moon, and some stupid GM will give it to him. We’ll find out a lot about Gorton’s negotiating prowess soon.

  12. Jason Zucker
    27 years old

    Left Wing/Right Wing, Minnesota Wild

    Contract: 4 years remaining, $5.5 million per year with a modified NTC

    Just a thought, so don’t kill me here but if push turns to shove, and Chris is asking for the moon, a trade could be worked out for him, get back assets, and maybe trade of Vesey for Jason Zucker.

    He is signed for another 4 years, cost controled, very solid 2 way game, and could move up to the top line, or second line. We can have a second line of Chytel, Kakko, and Zucker, which should be solid, and helps the kids along the way. Any thoughts????????

      1. So would I but that is an option. He also could be another controled player on the second line when we sign Chris. We need young veterans, and as stated he plays a very good 2 way game, and would help the young players, Kakko, and Chytle……..

      2. Mikey Red, Its not just CK over Zucker…its CK for the next 7 years @ $7M or Zucker for the next 4 years at $5.5.

        Assuming (hoping) our young guys take that next step up and become a formidable top 6 in 3 years, is it worth going that LT on CK?

        Recouping assets on Kreider (and i would think a good haul at that..only for a good haul) and getting Zucker without giving up any major future assets could be more beneficial for us down the road.

        I love CK and everything he brings to the team, but i dont want to be looking 4 years from now seeing one of our good young players go (like TOR) because we still owe him big money for a few years.

  13. I keep going back and forth on CK. He has been a favorite of mine since the 2010 WJC. I couldn’t wait to see him as a Ranger and he didn’t disappoint scoring a big goal in his first game in the playoffs.

    I think the organization has to do a little educational projection when it comes to CK and the fortunes of the team in the next 3-4 years. If they believe they can contend on that time then CK at a reasonable price is still a good option because he should be really good until age 32-33. Therefore a 5 year 35 million dollar deal for him is both fair to him and the team. A 7 million dollar cap hit is easily absorbed when you consider all the dead weight coming off of the books in 2 seasons. We are talking a total of 25 million of cap space coming off in two seasons.

    If however CK wants 9 million a year over 6-7 seasons then there is really nothing to talk about even with the big cap space available. You can’t just piss it away immediately. They will then have to move him and continue to collect and develop players.

    1. I hear yeah Czech….but if Shattypants gets 7 million….I doubt Kreider settles for that

    2. JD told you it wasn’t about contention. It was about leadership on the ice for the rebuild to continue in all the proper directions. With that said, he made it perfectly clear decisions were going to be made to ensure leadership is setting the example.
      Does Kreider set the example? Can he continue to do so at a reasonable rate at an affordable rate?

      There’s no accelerating the rebuild. There’s no short cuts.

      1. Steve Kournianos on the 4b pod cast says he hears that the rebuild is over and its march forward time

  14. If Kreider is traded and not replaced, his attributes will be missed. Seeking to upgrade a team’s skill level by removing such a player, with no replacement, is nonsensical. Kakko will need time to prove he’s the guy. The team’s depth and competitiveness grows with two Ranger lines having such talent to put on the ice.

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