1/8: Kreider is ranked 1st on The Athletic’s Trade Big Board with Craig Custance writing that neither the Rangers nor Kreider are “rushing” potential contract extension talks.
Custance lists Tampa as a team where Kreider might be a fit and says that the Rangers can point to the Kevin Hayes return of a 1st round pick, Brendan Lemieux and a conditional pick as a starting point for negotiations. (The Athletic’s)
12/31: Elliotte Friedman writes there is “lots and lots” of interest in Kreider but the Rangers have not made any decision yet on his future. (Sportsnet)
Friedman writes that while there is speculation Montreal would be a fit for Kreider, his partial no-trade clause might impact that. (Sportsnet)
12/30: On Hockey Night in Canada, Elliotte Friedman said “all the contenders from Colorado to Boston to St. Louis to Pittsburgh are all believed to be interested” in Chris Kreider. (Sportsnet)
He added that teams don’t believe that Kreider has been made “available” yet but if the Rangers decide to trade Kreider “there is a ton of interest.” (Sportsnet)
He is in the final-year of a four-year contract that has a cap hit of $4.625 million.
Adam Rotter: There are many different factors with Kreider, some of which we won’t know until much closer to the deadline. If the Rangers stumble, go on a losing streak and take a step back, it’s much easier to trade Kreider. If the Rangers get better, or really even stay where they are right now, it’s much harder to trade Kreider and subtract a major top-six forward and leader. The Rangers don’t want another year of selling at the deadline unless the playoffs are totally out of reach. The Rangers are one of five teams in the East that are within a game or so of each other, and still four points out of the playoffs, so the standings can/will change constantly.
The big wild card is Kreider being the best rental forward on the market and the package they could get in return. If the Rangers are able to create a bidding war and get something similar to the core of what they got for Rick Nash (1st round pick, prospect, roster player) or Kevin Hayes (1st round pick, young roster player) it might be worth it. I think that the Rangers preference would be to get players who can step in right away, maybe someone like Tyson Jost from Colorado, and then tie draft picks to conditions on how far a team goes in the playoffs or whether Kreider re-signs.
I do think that in a perfect world the Rangers would like to sign Kreider, and that they kept him at the deadline last year with the intent of doing so, but Artemi Panarin signed, Kaapo Kakko was picked and Kevin Shattenkirk’s buyout cap hit, all make that unlikely now.