New York Rangers: Chris Kreider and the upcoming decision

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As the New York Rangers have officially bought out the contract of defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, the focus shifts to what the team intends to do with power forward Chris Kreider.

With the New York Rangers having multiple options to meet their cap ceiling requirements by opening night, the focus shifts to Chris Kreider and the decision now looms with the potential of his becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2020.  The Rangers’ strategy over the past two trade deadline was trading away pending free agent players rather than to extend them long term, so the Kreider conversation is front and center.

Many sources around the NHL have reported that Kreider’s name has been part of trade conversations including the New York Post beat writer Larry Brooks. There are few reports on negotiations since the end of the season from the Rangers or from Kreider‘s agent Matt Keator.   This is not an indication of lack of interest on the Rangers or Kreider’s part as General Manager Jeff Gorton has had his hands full the past few months.

Going into this off-season it seemed unlikely the Rangers would sign a big name free agent and be able to extend Kreider.  Now that they have signed Artemi Panarin, and with the extension of Pavel Buchnevich, the Rangers have an extra top-six winger.  Mika Zibanejad is slated to center Panarin and rookie Kaapo Kakko on the top line,  which leaves Vitali Kravtsov, Kreider or Buchnevich to play with Filip Chytil on the second line.

Kreider is one of the few veterans on a Rangers roster that continues to get younger as they continue their rebuild.  He remains on the Rangers 23-man roster however that could change at a moment’s notice, at the trade deadline or perhaps several years from now.  The decision on Kreider is one of the most discussed speculative conversations within the NHL amid an off-season that has been dominated by the Rangers.

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