Rangers win big on Chris Kreider contract, at the buzzer

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nhl/players/4699/" data-ylk="slk:Chris Kreider">Chris Kreider</a>
Chris Kreider

This is what the New York Rangers and Chris Kreider do. They wait until the door to the arbitrator’s office is nearly open and then end the drama with a new contract before walking in.

Two years ago, it was a two-year deal with an annual cap hit of $2.475 million. On Friday, it ended up being a four-year contract with an annual cap hit of $4.625 million.

After a controversial trade earlier in the week, this one is a slam-dunk for GM Jeff Gorton and the Rangers.

First off, it was imperative to head off arbitration, which would have resulted in a one-year deal that would have really given Kreider, 25, some leverage on his next contract, with unrestricted free agency looming.

Instead, the Rangers get him at $4.625 million, which is under Kreider’s submitted ask of $4.75 million for arbitration and well under the $5.25 million he was asking for in a long-term deal that ate up unrestricted free agent years, according to Larry Brooks of the NY Post.

Recently, Jaden Schwartz of the St. Louis Blues received five years at $5.35 million per season. Alex Killorn of the Tampa Bay Lightning went seven years at $4.45 million. So Kreider falls in between those recent contracts, despite the Rangers getting a shorter term on it.

That’s a win.

Kreider posted his second consecutive 21-goal season in 2015-16, with 43 points overall. There’s a lot to love about his game – speed, net presence, that whole cannonball-into-the-opposing-goalie thing – and there’s room for improvement.

Let’s say he doesn’t improve, and the Rangers want to go in a different direction. Well, that’s another win, per Aaron Ward, who broke the signing:

So $4 million in actual salary in his final year, and 20 teams to which he can be traded. You have to love that flexibility if you’re a Rangers fan.

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.


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