Trade rumors have been swirling around Chris Kreider, the 24-year-old speedy Rangers forward, as the trade deadline grows near. The talk surrounding this possible move is mostly speculation, but, as teams have shown before, any kind of trade could always be possible.
Looking at Stats
Despite Kreider’s tough season, he’s still shown that he’s a player with great potential and strong skills. This season the forward has posted 11 goals, 17 assists, and 28 points in 57 games, while last season he ended the season’s 80 games with 21 goals, 25 assists, and 46 points.
Kreider, even if he isn’t scoring goals, is still keeping a presence on the ice as a big and physical player standing at 6-foot-3, 226 lbs. He is a quick skater who can be a force on the ice and effectively move the puck, even serving as a mediator between linemates. Considering the good he does, he is not immune to mistakes, and has had some trouble scoring as well as falling victim to a few turnovers.
On the ice, he has moments where he is a strong player and where he utilizes his speed to help and make plays. Known for crashing the net, Kreider knows how to get up close and personal with a goalie and still notch a goal in the process. When he is on his game, he is very on his game.
Taking another look at Kreider’s stats and his success, it is important to look at the forward’s post-season stats. Post-season success is something the Rangers need, especially as they continue to case the Stanley Cup finals.
Kreider was second in goals, following Derick Brassard, in post-season goals with seven goals and two assists. He was also in the top five in goals the year prior in the 2013-14 post-season. He has been an important aspect of post-season play, especially when this kind of success is something the Rangers are craving.
Most recently Kreider assisted on defenseman Kevin Klein’s winning OT goal on Feb.21 in the Rangers’ game against the Detroit Red Wings. Prior to that, Kreider’s most recent goal was a game-tying goal on Feb.6 against the Philadelphia Flyers.
This season even, Kreider’s stats haven’t been the best but haven’t been completely reflective of his abilities. With the right push and application Kreider’s potential can launch him to new heights, he might only just need the time to unlock it.
Would They Trade Him?
Depending on how GM Jeff Gorton wants to tackle the trade deadline, there can be no telling what his underlying plan is. The Rangers organization has been effective in keeping their possible deals a secret until they’re announced.
The Rangers are in search for a strong forward who can get some goals and help effectively on the power kill. Though the forwards on the roster now are all great players in and of themselves, sometimes small movements can help the players unlock the potential.
In a search for goal-scorer or an effective power killer, Gorton might find certain players less of a necessity, especially with lessened cap space and many players to resign at the end of this season.
If it is true and d-man Keith Yandle really is off the trade market, it would seem unlikely that the team wouldn’t consider the other trading options.
Though Kreider only takes $2.6 million per season, he will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season and will be in need of a new contract. Other restricted free agents at the end of this season include: J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes, Dylan McIlrath, and Marek Hrivik.
As far as unrestricted free agents who might warrant resigned go, there are: Yandle, Dan Boyle, Viktor Stalberg, Dom Moore, and Antti Raanta. Any possible trade might not even be in search of a different player but could be done moreso for financial reasons, save space for necessary resigning.
At the deadline, it comes down to what Gorton finds to be the best call, whether he might trade away a player for a good deal or to free up some salary space.
Trade rumors always swirl, especially as the deadline grows near and other players are rumored to have been taken off the trade market. As far as Kreider is concerned, it is possible that anything can happen, but this isn’t the first time he has been subject to trade rumors.
Kreider is a speedy forward who knows how to handle the puck and knows how to get a goal when he needs one. His stats this season haven’t been up to where his potential is, and only shows that he has more work to do if he wants to unlock everything he is capable of.
He is also a good player under pressure, who doesn’t often crack in more pressure-filled situations and rises during the post-season. His strong post-season play and dedication to the game are two other staples in what makes him a good player.
Some might consider trading Kreider to be a good move or a quick fix, but, he is a very strong player who, though he isn’t performing to his highest capabilities, will only unlock more of his potential the more opportunity he receives.
The speedster is a valuable player, who will continue to further prove it, as he usually does, but sometimes there is no telling where possible trades might lead when any player can fall victim to being traded.
For now, a Kreider trade has been a rumor, but the only way to tell what will happen with any player is to keep a close eye on the upcoming trade deadline.
Alyssa is a writer here at THW as a contributor for her hometown team, the New York Rangers. She is also currently pursuing a Communications degree. Follow her on twitter for some hockey talk and Rangers updates!