Young New York Ranger forward Chris Kreider is set for his arbitration meeting on Wednesday.
According to CBSSports.com, he is seeking an annual salary of $2.8 million. The Rangers organization is prepared to offer a bridge contract of $4.1 million over two years, with his first year being at $1.9 million. Kreider’s second year would be $2.2 million. That’s not bad.
However, I believe general manager Glen Sather could offer more. Chris Kreider is coming off a great season, where he scored 17 goals and 37 points. His name was even mentioned in the Calder Trophy conversation for the best rookie last season, before suffering a injury. His presence on the ice was missed, surprisingly. However, he returned to the lineup in the 2nd round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins. In game four, he did not a register point. However, it was his intangibles: speed on the ice and aggressiveness that made him stand out. Even though his return was in a losing effort, you could say he helped breathe life into a Rangers team that was near down and out. Sather could afford to shell out more for Kreider.
Last season, he earned $1.325 million in the last year of his entry-level contract. I’d say Kreider is due for a pay raise between $2.0 and $2.5 million. Has Kreider warranted enough to earn $2.8 per year? I beg to differ. But, I don’t dispute that he deserves a raise.
However, you do have to wonder how negotiations will pan out with forwards Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard, once a number is agreed upon with Chris Kreider and the New York Rangers. Let’s take the higher priced scenario for each player that is a restricted free agent.
According to capgeek.com, the Rangers have $12.3 million in cap space, as of now. Say Chris Kreider is awarded his asking price of $2.8, which will leave the New York Rangers with $9.5 million. If Zuccarello receives his money, there will be a little over $5 million left. Then, with Brassard’s asking price of $5.5, there won’t be enough, obviously. Also, there is defenseman John Moore, who is a restricted free agent. Then you have the case of Marc Staal, who has voiced his concerns with a contract extension being taken care of before the start of next season. How will Glen Sather navigate through this mine field?
Negotiations are going to be testy. Everyone wants what’s best. Players don’t want to be underpaid; and, the team doesn’t want to overpay. Hopefully, a middle ground will be reached. At the end of the day, we all want to see them fit under the umbrella of New York. However, at what cost?
Plenty of decisions, head scratching, and debate for the Rangers organization to ponder. Wednesday will be telling and could provide the starting point for which the dominoes will fall.
Author’s note: On Wednesday, 23 July 2014, RFA Chris Kreider signed a two-year contract worth $5 million to remain a New York Ranger.