The clock was winding down on Chris Kreider’s career as a New York Ranger before the trade deadline on Feb. 24, then president John Davidson called a press conference at 11 a.m. with important team announcements. Soon after the meeting started, Davidson announced that power forward Kreider was recently signed to a seven-year, $45.5 million contract.
Kreider signing to stay on Broadway meant an inevitable departure for another Blueshirt. Defenseman Brady Skjei was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for a first-round draft selection in 2020. (from Brady Skjei traded by Rangers to Hurricanes for first-round pick,’ New York Post, 02/24/2020) However, in this article we will only look at the pros and cons of the Kreider contract, and how his return will positively and negatively impact New York.
From a glance, $6.5 million average annual value (AAV) per year may seem like too much for a soon-to-be 29-year-old. Kreider was reportedly looking more for an average yearly value of around $7 million, which the Rangers and general manager Jeff Gorton could most definitely not afford due to New York’s tight current salary cap.
However, Kreider at the value that he signed for is a good, if not great, deal for the Rangers. For a rebuilding team that is losing most of their previous playoff players from years prior, he will be a major factor at the price he will play for in the future.
Kreider has always been one of the main point-getters for New York, especially in the playoffs. When Broadway is back in the big dance down the line in a couple of years, the money won’t be the issue for the Rangers in this generally team-friendly deal.
Con: Length of Contract
While the money was the compromise of Kreider’s camp, the long-term deal was the ultimate decision from Gorton. Kreider vouched for seven years instead of six, which obviously benefits the power forward the most and not the organization in this situation.
Related: Rangers Sign Kreider to Extension
The length of the contract could be a major issue down the line for the team, especially if Kreider doesn’t live up to his $6.5 million per year in three or four years down the road. The Massachusetts native plays a very physical game, and sometime he has the tendencies to disappear. If Kreider, who is now approaching 29 years old, sees a lack in production in the second half of his contract, that will spell issues for Gorton and the front office.
Pro: Rangers Get Long-Term Leader
One of the main reasons that Gorton needed to complete this deal with Kreider’s camp is because of the leadership factor on the Rangers. With a team age average of about 25 years old, there needs to be a locker room leader as the Rangers approach playoff contention in the years to come. Kreider has been a Ranger since the 2012-13 season and when players like Marc Staal and Henrik Lundqvist leave the organization, there will be a new leading voice in the locker room.
The obvious choice for the next captain of the Blueshirts is, without a doubt, Kreider. To have a strong leader with such a young team will be very important down the line, especially from someone who has experienced playoff success and heartbreaks like Kreider.
Con: Money Down the Line
One major issue for the Rangers with this contract is how it will affect other players that need to be re-signed in the near future. With $6.5 million going to Kreider for the next seven years, some of that money will be taken away from the younger players on the Rangers’ roster. Even with the Staal, Lundqvist and Brendan Smith contracts expiring soon, the Rangers still might not be as pretty as you think when it comes to the salary cap.
Players like Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko and Adam Fox will be signing past their rookie deals soon, and that could bring possible salary-cap clutter with Kreider’s new deal. Obviously, the Rangers will look much different five-or-so years in the future, but Kreider’s current cap hit might create frustration for the Rangers’ front office.
The Rangers came away pretty clean from the quiet 2020 trade deadline, and this is probably for the better from an organizational standpoint. Kreider is back with the team on Broadway, Skjei is in Carolina and Gorton will have his hands full in the summer during the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Time will only tell how the Kreider contract pans out for New York.
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Sophomore journalism major at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. Business director and play-by-play broadcaster for WMUC Sports. Former intern for the Anton Media Group.