For the Rangers, it may come down to Chris Kreider or Artemi Panarin, and not both

As we’ve progressed through the offseason, we’ve done a lot of exercises about how the Rangers can fit both Chris Kreider’s extension and Artemi Panarin’s massive UFA deal under the now $81.5 million cap ceiling. Prior posts and analysis had the cap at $83 million, and that extra $1.5 million goes a long way to getting this to work. Now though, it looks like it needs to be one or the other.

Kreider’s extension is likely coming in at five or six years at $6.75 million per season. He is 100% worth this deal. If it’s the six year variety, it takes him through his age-34 season. Sure it’s risky, but it’s also $5 million less than Panarin’s expected seven year deal at $11.5 million. He is likely going to get that kind of money. The question has become whether it is more prudent to keep Kreider at almost half of what Panarin will cost.

Panarin is a 30-goal, 80-point guy. Kreider is a 25-goal, 50-point guy. So the key is assists which are driving Panarin’s point differential from Kreider. That’s expected, as Panarin is an elite playmaker. He plays from the outside, sees the offensive zone extremely well, and has the tools to put up the goals and points at more than a point per game last season. Kreider, on the other hand, is a middle of the ice player whose net-front presence is difficult to match up against. Add in his rare combination of speed and strength, and you have a matchup nightmare for the opposition, and something that the Rangers would lack if they send Kreider packing.

From what Ian Fleming posted above, Kreider is also the more well rounded player. In terms of offensive drivers, Kreider is a small step below Panarin, which again is expected. However Kreider is a significant impact on defense, whereas Panarin is about league average. That’s very important for a developing team that will struggle on the defensive side of things as the kids grow.

Something else to note is that Kreider is actually slightly better than Panarin at producing team shots at even strength. It’s not a big difference, and Panarin is significantly better than Kreider with the man advantage, but it’s something worth noting.

The reason why these little items are worth noting is the aforementioned price difference between Kreider and Panarin. The Rangers would take a significant step forward offensively and on the powerplay, but would also probably take a step back defensively while losing their fastest skater who is also their strongest net-front presence. It’s a trade-off.

For the Rangers, this can be a crucial decision to make. If they tie up $11.5 million into Panarin, they need to make sure they get it right. That’s a contract that can completely kill all the momentum of the rebuild if it goes sour. However it can also give the Rangers the second (third?) elite winger and scoring threat. That’s incredibly difficult to match up against. But then again so is Kreider.

Interestingly enough, there really is no wrong answer here. Signing Panarin is in line with their vision of accelerating the rebuild. Passing on him means showing restraint. Keeping Kreider means keeping a core member. Trading him recognizes he may not be a part of their future. It’s amazing how a rebuild leaves all your options open.

Then again the wrong contract to the wrong player, be it Panarin or Kreider, can completely throw this off the rails.

"For the Rangers, it may come down to Chris Kreider or Artemi Panarin, and not both", 4 out of 5 based on 18 ratings.
Show More


  1. The more I think about it we are better off helping Florida clear cap space by taking a good player from them and let them sign Panarin. I would be very happy to take back Huberdeau or Trocheck and Reimer for some late round draft picks and just buyout Reimer and be done with it. His cap hit post buyout is very manageable. I would have no interest in Mike Hoffman, but Florida has some good pieces.Then you can sign Kreider too for a comparable cap hit. Would love Denisenko, but can’t see him being available in this type of trade.

    I’d also be happy to talk to Vegas and see how we can help them out of an asset. Or any other cap strapped team

    1. what I meant by comparable cap hit is Kreider at $6.5 + Huberdeau (as an example) at $5.9= $12.4mill..Panarain = $12mill to $12.5mill…is comparable.

  2. To me it would make more sense to keep Kreider and add another forward who gets paid a similar salary than to spend it all on Panarin.

      1. No, even though the Mighty Zuccarello is one of my all time favorite Rangers. He is at 31, t too old to offer the length of a deal that he has been seeking. I mean a young forward. I don’t recommend chasing any older players at this point.

    1. Well if the Rangers did the right things, then they could have both CK and Panarin, and still sign Trouba.

      Keep in mind, CK’s raise would start net year.

      1. A couple of dominoes have to fall, otherwise he’s a pass … but I even wonder if it makes sense just from the standpoint of precedence. We’ve seen that in a way with TO, Marner’s attitude is like well look what you gave Matthews and Tavares while I scored more points than both, I deserve the same amount for the same term. Then when Kakko scores more points than Panarin (and I think it will happen at some point in his ELC), Kakko will say hey give $11-12m+ for 8 years. Whereas if the top player on the team is making say $8.5/$9.0m maybe the offer of being the highest paid player on the team at $10m is acceptable — of course his agent may not agree, but I think I made the point to some degree. Players don’t just look at the whole League and the salaries being payed, they also look at the pecking order on the team.

        1. Yep agreed on what you are saying.

          The Rangers have a lot of work to do if they want to sign Panarin. So they better start soon.

  3. Why would Panarin want to sign in NY?
    BTW, he could be as old as 31 before this team is playoff contenders.
    Will he put up 80 pts as a 31 year old? most likely, not.
    The money is wrong, the timing is wrong, it’s better to let this kid go somewhere else, for him and us.

    As for Kreider – well it took 9 years before he almost became a 30 goal scorer. 9 years.

    1. “Why would Panarin want to sign in NY?”

      What does that even mean? There are plenty of good reasons to sign here, it’s NY for starters. Secondly we can be competitive pretty quickly here, it doesn’t have to take 3 years, this is why we traded for both Fox and Trouba (to accelerate the rebuild). Add Panarin and we have a very legit Top 6, a real good right side on D and of course quality goaltending. The bottom 6 becomes automatically better with Panarin pushing someone back. The only thing left to do is fix the Left Defense and by that I mean the 2nd and 3rd pairing LDs. Skjei with Trouba can be a good and dynamic 1st pairing.

      I’m not worried about the first 3-4 years of a Panarin contract, it’s the last 3 years that concern me … and what concerns me even more is that I can live with Panarin if we can counterbalance him with Kreider, but if you have to subtract Kreider to add Panarin then the needle moves forward but not by enough to justify $11-12M @ 7 years.

      1. “there is no acceleration to the rebuild, these things take time and can not be rushed” – John Davidson.
        “ice time will be earned, not given, nothing is given for free” – Davis Quinn.

        and then eventually, you agree… “but if you have to subtract Kreider to add Panarin then the needle moves forward but not by enough to justify $11-12M @ 7 years”

        There might be reasons for Panarin to come to NY, but it seems like there is little reason regarding playing hockey in NY.
        The rangers aren’t playoff ready, so again, why would his guy want to play in NY when there are so many other places meeting his girlfriends needs, taxes are better, the team is better… it make s no sense.

        Your evaluation period part 2 is starting in Oct.
        When the team is ready for playoff contention, JD and the staff will tell you.

        1. First off I love JD, but he’s a bit of a bullsh!tter. He’s got the gift of gab. Regardless, by acceleration he’s talking about signing a lot of expensive free agents — not grabbing young players who still have upside or prospects that are essentially developed — if the price is right of course and in the case of both Trouba and Fox, they were. We didn’t give up our future with either player.

          As to your 2nd point, I’m not agreeing with what you said. Panarin may very well be right, if we can keep Kreider — that’s my argument in favor of Panarin. He isn’t necessarily wrong because of the money (this is TBD) or the timing, he’s wrong if he pushes out Kreider — we need to deal away $4-5M and Panarin can be right … and if he isn’t right THIS year he’ll be right the following year. Can he score 80 points at the age of 31? He could, with the right people on his line. He’s a PPG guy, has always been so. He doesn’t have enough mileage on him to break down at 30, so IF he lives the right way he should be good for the majority of the contract — and there’s the rub, I don’t know anything about Panarin off the ice … but I suspect the Rangers do, especially JD.

  4. Basically, you are talking about spending around 5 million dollars a year more for 30 more points a year then Krieder. TO MUCH MONEY AND TO LONG A CONTRACT, USUALLY BITES US IN THE END EVERY TIME. Stay away from Panarin, sign Krieder. and explore other options. That will save us a ton of money and a lot of disappointment in the end.

    1. When will this team ever learn?

      Staal, Shittypants, Smith are current examples of why you should help Florida made a deal with Panarian, so some dimwit in our FO won’t advocate for it. I hate deals like what’s being proposed, it puts you in a cap hell, and creates a cast system that never works well in the locker room. Just look at the Pens today, huge contracts for Cindy, Igor, Latang, Kessel, the goalie. They have had to trade, or make available for expansion the likes of M A Fleury, lost Connor Sherry, and others to get under the cap, and they regret it today. Hell the cancer in the locker room, Kessel can’t be gotten rid of, and the Pens are stuck because he has a NMC. Bottom line, let these other outfits get themselves in a cap hell, we sign reasonable contracts, and have a happy locker room!!!!!!!!

      1. I trust that JD knows enough about Panarin in the room and OFF the ice to make the right call — well I hope he does. I’m less worried about signing Panarin if he’s a model citizen and religiously works out — just like Chris Kreider. If that’s the case an we can get him without busting the bank, there’s value there — especially for a young team. However if he’s susceptible to temptation and has unknown vices, obviously you need to stay away.

        1. Tanto, is someone writing under you name, this line doesn’t seem like you, but whatever. Panarin is a bad idea! That’s the bottom line for the Rangers. I have a sneaky suspicion that the one who knows this better than anyone is JD, which is why the Rangers will not pursue him. As for Kreider, I think the $s are a little high but it’s 2019 and the NHL just moves this way. I’d much rather keep Kreider our home grown guy than make the dumb decision and sign Panarin. Not sure I follow the logic of “helping” Florida. Why would we do that? Florida or anyone, Just don’t sign him, and let it be known that he’s too expensive. This way he doesn’t get to use the Rangers to jack up his already highly ridiculous price tag. Stupid is what it is, at least for the Rangers

          1. I agree and that’s what I was saying, I’m going to put my trust in JD … he has to have all the inside dope on Panarin. If Panarin has the right character and work ethic then I’m a little less concerned about him being an elite player for another 4-5 years at least. That said, we don’t have to do anything, we can stand pat and I’m fine with that. It just opens us up to other potential avenues.

            Re: Kreider I agree, it is 2019 where Kevin Hayes gets 7 years at circa $7.125M per … Kreider has always struck me as a deadly serious young man, he’s a good example for all the young kids — clean living and hard training. I hope he takes on a leadership role.

          2. Not the mention Kreds is one of the fastest skaters in the league. Players with a smooth skating stride tend to have longer NHL careers. Ink him Gorton.

          3. Good call … I think Kreids is one of those guys that could play another 9-10 years — not saying he would be scoring 25-30 goals a year, but he’ll be very serviceable.

  5. I think that management has an opinion that they want to get rid of people that quit on the coach this past year and in previous years. In doing so they are willing forfeit an incredible player with speed for twice the price for someone maybe a little bit better. Kreider is a monster and The Bread man is not.
    Last year the coach made numerous subjective moves which baffled and confounded the common sense and was overlooked by the dimwitted. A disappearing act ensued as did the team. An injury may have assisted in the fade-out. We could all see Zuc and Zbad was on a line with Kreider, the line was unstoppable. Pugging in undesirables like Fast and others in the line practically stopped the offensive juggernaut. What do you think will happen when you put a 4th line defensive player on the first line? What do you think the players think when the coach stagnates their line? The coach had no other options you say! Balderdash!
    Maybe a change would do Kreider good maybe a better coach would. Why throw away a great talent for a perceived great talent that has not performed on the Broadway stage before and have no idea if he will do well.
    There could be 2 problems here. The coaches mind or the players mind. If its the coach then more problems will arise which did last year. If its the player all you need id Zbads psychiatrist to help him deal with it.
    What came first the chicken or the egg? What caused Kreider to suck? Was it the coaches moves and losing or does Kreider suck and give up. JD and GM need to figure it out.

    1. “Kreider is a monster and The Bread man is not.”

      I guess the depends on your definition of monster.

      Clearly Kreider can be a monster, but when was the last time he ran a goalie, which was always his calling card?

      Panarin is a monster in a different way. Not a physical presence, but a skill and finesse monster.

      For the record – I am so torn on this one – I change my mind daily.

  6. I don’t normally think Tom Urtz has a lot of good ideas, but his article about Gusev makes some serious sense — Reaves and Gusev, if they don’t cost us a 1st rounder or one of the top prospects makes some sense and would allow us to grab a bad contract for extra assets.

    1. Don’t know much about Gusev but the dude clearly has some skill. Are you thinking signing Kreids and then getting Gusev?

      I am not sure about Reaves – seems like we have been there and done that before….

      1. Yes, sign Kreider and get Gusev — the reason I added Reaves is because Vegas has to shed salary. I think Reaves has some value, he’s better than a McLeod, better than a Tanner Glass, etc. He isn’t a complete waste of space to be honest and he would keep other teams honest (to some extent), besides he just has a 1 year contract and would make good trade bait come the trading deadline if we wanted.

    2. Tom Urtz had Fast as an extra on the 4th line. The guy is a Genius! Too many righties.

    3. I read the article, there is some merit, but the idea of using our cap space to our advantage is the real issue. Gusev is one alternative, but there definitely are others. Forget Panarin, use the cap space, teams are sucking wind with this cap now set at 81.5 million. We can (nicely) go for the jugular.

  7. It may be Panarin or Krieder because of Shatty and Smith. Since we cannot get rid of the useless players, move out a useful player. Defies some logic

  8. Stay the course on the rebuild and forget Panarin. He is probably one of our draft choices of the past 3 years. Make sure CK wants the captaincy mantle. If he does 6yrs at a responsible number, the Captaincy, NMC for the last third of the contract. I would pinky bet he leads by example, will hold guys responsible and will be more noticeable every game. He is way more valuable than Panarin’ points! We have other guys to sign as well and more coming up…….lets not “mortgage” the future for a name.

  9. Wow look at all the problems Henrik is causing.

    He should have let us trade him. He still can.

    Thank you for your service please step aside for the rebuild.

      1. I don’t care who can use him his play last year does not jive with his cap hit.

  10. After we got the lottery pick, I was less and less interested in Panarin… especially at that cost and length. We have this whole wave of talent coming, and I just feel a Panarin contract like this is going to become an issue in about 3 seasons.

    Maybe it works out… or maybe it turns out how almost all of these big name deals do for us…. cough Shattenkirk… and we all of a sudden can’t get rid of him.

    The organization has talent now and we’re don’t necessarily have to buy it. We’re have issues with Staal, Smith, and Shattenkirk. If they swing and miss with $11MM+ on one player long-term, we’re screwed.

    I agrees with others on here who says they’d rather have two $6MM players instead if you’re really gonna go that route.

  11. My hunch is Rangers will move players and buyout Shatty or Smith to sign Panarin…Bobo might go to Islanders or Panthers…….Can’t see them keeping Kreider if Panarin signs….

Back to top button