NEW YORK, NY – We’re just a few days away from the NHL Trade Deadline and Chris Kreider is still a New York Ranger. The 28-year old Massachusetts native scored an amazing goal Wednesday night in the Blueshirts’ 6-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
There are a number of suitors for Kreider’s services and those teams will have to pay a steep price. The Rangers are looking for a First Round draft pic, a top prospect, and possibly a conditional draft pick in return for Kreider, who is in the last year of his current contract and will be an Unrestricted Free Agent this summer.
Kreider and the Blueshirts are still talking an extension and it’s possible a deal could get done that would keep him at the Garden. But one would think that the 28-year old winger would need to give the Rangers a hometown discount in any deal given the Rangers’ salary cap constraints. I’m not sure Kreider would want to leave that money on the table without at least testing the market in free agency.
The Boston Bruins have emerged as front-runners in the CK sweepstakes. The B’s have the best record in hockey and are looking to add on to bolster their already formidable lineup. It would be a good fit for Kreider, who grew up in Massachusetts and went to Boston College. The Colorado Avalanche are also in the running for Kreider’s services. There are a lot of moving parts and we’ll see where things shake out by Monday’s trade deadline.
The Rangers have already been busy on the trade market swapping prospects with Carolina. The Rangers sent right-handed defensive prospect Joey Keane to the Hurricanes for winger Julien Gauthier. This trade took advantage of what appears to be a surplus of right-handed defensemen in the Rangers pecking order to address a need for young forwards who are close to NHL-ready.
Wednesday night’s win over the Blackhawks showed off the Rangers’ strengths and weaknesses. Their top two lines of forwards can run with the best in the league and they’ve found a real star in Igor Shesterkin in goal. But there are serious issues in the lineup beyond the top lines. And the defense is a bit of a mess right now. Jacob Trouba has not lived up to expectations and the high sticker price. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Rangers tried to move Trouba before his no-trade clause kicks in this summer.
The revelation of Shesterkin in goal has left a gap in Hartford. So, the Rangers acquired goaltender Jean-Francois Berube from the Philadelphia Flyers to finish out the season in Hartford. It remains to be seen what the Rangers do with Lundqvist and/or Georgiev. They can’t go on forever carrying three goalies. A buyout of Lundqvist may happen this summer. It would be a sad end to the King’s reign on Broadway if it happens. They could also trade Georgiev but I don’t think the Rangers want to let him go. Time will tell. We’ll know a good deal more once Monday’s trade deadline passes.
That’s all I have. Comment below and come back tomorrow for Short Matt.