Thoughts following the trade deadline

The Rangers focused on keeping their core together for now

The trade deadline has come and gone. The Rangers only made two moves, but they were big moves. They signed Chris Kreider to a seven year contract extension at $6.5 million per season. The details of the contract aren’t known as of the writing of this post. The Rangers also traded Brady Skjei to the Carolina Hurricanes for a 2020 1st round pick. Carolina will pick between Toronto’s and their own.

The Kreider Extension

1. It was clear from the start that Kreider wanted to stay and the Rangers wanted him to stay. Kreider wanted term, as this was probably going to be his last big contract. The Rangers wanted to keep the cap hit under $7 million. Both got what they wanted. The deal might look ugly in years 6 and 7, but we say that about every long term contract. Every single contract comes with risk. The Rangers minimized that risk with the cap hit and the presumed structure of the deal.

2. This isn’t necessarily an overpay on contract dollars, but it’s a little longer than most are comfortable with. But the Kreider contract isn’t the contract that kills a cap situation. He’s a top-six player and you pay those players. The contracts that get you in trouble are the deals like this that get handed out to middle six/third line players. Pay for skill. Find bargains for the rest.

3. Kreider’s contract is front loaded, or so we’ve been told. That helps the Blueshirts out at the end of the deal, as it makes him more marketable to budget teams who don’t mind a cap hit, or teams like Ottawa who just want to pay as little as possible. This matters in those later years to help mitigate some risk.

4. This contract takes Kreider through his age-35 season, so how he ages will determine how this contract is viewed in the history books. Luckily for Kreider, he possesses two skills that generally age well – strength and net-front presence. He may lose a step or two as he gets older, but as long as he can jump out of pools and can get in front of goalies for screens and deflections, he will have a place on any NHL roster. Call me an optimist, but I get the impression those skills don’t age as quickly.

5. Wonder if he gets the ‘C’ over Mika Zibanejad?

The Skjei Trade

1. Even before Kreider inked his extension, we knew the Rangers were going to have to dump one or two contracts, especially if they planned on keeping all their RFAs through this season. Skjei was probably the player with the most trade value that could also free up enough cap space to address some of their offseason concerns.

2. The concern with trading Skjei is if he re-finds his game and becomes a bonafide 1-2 LD, then the return of only a first round pick will seem light. However if he doesn’t and he remains a middle pairing defenseman, then the Rangers may have found a good way out of a potentially bad contract. That Skjei deal was getting dangerously close to cap damaging (see above).

3. After the Skjei deal, the left side of the defense is…not ideal. It’s Ryan Lindgren, Marc Staal, and Brendan Smith. If there was any time to try Tony DeAngelo on the left side, now is that time. It can’t hurt. Just humor me, Quinn.

4. I do remember when Skjei was first called up, around Christmas time. I kept tweeting “It’s Lovely Weather for a Skjei Ride Together With You.” There weren’t many rookies that debuted between him and Pavel Buchnevich that we were really excited about. I hope he does well in Carolina.

The Lack of Other Moves

1. This was the most surprising aspect of the trade deadline. The Blueshirts did nothing else. Jesper Fast is still a Ranger. None of the RFAs were moved. The RFAs sticking doesn’t surprise me – they will have more value at the draft. Keeping Fast did surprise me, but logically it makes sense. He’s worth more to the team than he would fetch as a rental.

2. There were some other paper moves for Julien Gauthier and Brett Howden. They are eligible for the AHL playoffs after their 5 minute demotion yesterday. Just paper moves, they will be in the lineup tonight.

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  • Gorton needed to do a few things at this draft
    1. Keep the NYR in the playoff race
    2. Move assets to obtain Cap space
    3. Move Free Agents that we will not resign

    I think the CK signing keeps us in the playoff race. Losing Skjei doesn’t damage that a whole lot

    Moving Skjei opened up some Cap space, but creates a very light Left D. We do have assets coming, but will they be ready next year?

    Keeping Strome and Fast keep us in the playoff race, but may be going elsewhere over the summer. I for one would have liked to see Strome traded, although we would lack a 2C for the rest of the year.

    Overall, I think Gorton was cautious. Maybe the Buch injury played a role as maybe there was a deal on the table for him. Who knows.

    Now we play a greatly improved Islander team. We need at least a point.

  • First off the accident news sucks, but a crude reminder that these are regular people and not droids or something.

    I’m of fan of the kreider deal, reasonable cap hit, flexibility at back end.

    I was kind of annoyed that they didnt do any forward thinking moves ie draft .

    Then the skjei deal happened, didnt, and then happened. Getting another first is awesome (esp for skjei) . I was never a fan of his contract.

    So in summary I thought it was the perfect hedge. Good for next 4-5 years and building for years after (hopefully).

  • The moves made, and not made were good IMHO. Kreider stays at a reasonable cost, we get cap relief from the Skjei trade, and get a second #1 pick in what will be a very good, and deep draft.

    Moves will take place over the summer, and or at the draft, we will get younger while still getting the kids experience at playing meaningful games down the stretch. Looking at the roster, and the farm, we are very well positioned at defense, goal, and will get deeper at the forward positions next year. I suspect that we go after wings , wings, and then some more wings in the draft. If that turns out to be the case, we as an organization will be set up for the long term, with quality at all positions!!!!!!!

  • I can’t complain about any moves or lack there of yesterday. Trading productive roster players (Fast, Strome) for 2nd, 3rd or 4th round picks is a full rebuild move. I guess no enticing package was offered. Better to keep them for now and deal with them in before the draft. Now let’s go beat the fish sticks!

  • Wish Igor and Buch a Speedy recovery.

    Yesterday was good for the team. On Kreider, I thought the cap hit was a home town discount. The term, not so much. But it’s a trade off and a fair deal for team and player. I also think keeping him, set the right tone for the team. They mentioned his chemistry with Mika as one of many reasons to keep Kreider. I think they’re signaling to Mika, don’t worry, we’re upping you too.

    I liked the Skjei trade. He’s been talked about as an expansion draft give away and now he’s a first in a strong draft. And we freed up a big chunk of cap space. We’ll be able to judge this trade better in June after we see who they select. Brady’s decision making and pension for taking bad penalties doesn’t seem to be improving. I wish him all the best in Carolina.

    It was wise to sit tight. I won’t be surprised if we re-sign Fast. We have 2 firsts so I think they draft will impact what we do with some of our rfa’s. Let’s hope we get ADA re-signed soon..

    • Good point on Skeij, getting a first round pick back is huge. I was even thinking that the Rangers might’ve needed to slip Seattle a third round pick just to take him in the expansion draft.

      It’s hard to be disappointed after yesterday’s moves.

    • Kreider’s the oldest of the Rangers top forwards, at 29. Panarin’s exactly 6 months younger, Zib is 26, and Buch is 24. Sounds like they’ll be together for a while.

      • On defense, Trouba is 25, Tony DeAngelo is 24, Ryan Lindgren is 22, and Adam Fox is 21. Staal will go at least by the end of his contract and Smith is likely gone sooner. Hajek and Rykov are on deck. Igor is 24 and so is Georgiev (if they manage to hold onto him). The Rangers will be young and skilled on both ends. This is going to be a very good team for a long time.

  • For the next four seasons, Kreider’s cap hit is $1.25M more per year than Skjei’s would have been. I would have taken much less than a first round pick just based on this alone.

  • I think Fast will resign and the Rangers just didn’t want to commit to a specific number for his contract NOW until they got Kreider’s situation locked up, then Tony and Strome … plus factors like if they can move Brendan Smith after July 1.

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