The New York Rangers signed forward Chris Kreider to a four-year contract extension worth $18.5 million in a last-minute deal that helped the sides avoid an arbitration hearing scheduled for later today.
This deal is a very fair one for both sides. This is especially true when you consider that the deal’s average annual value of $4.625 million is extremely close to the reported arbitration asking price of $4.75 million per year.
In this situation, the player gets his market value and the team gets extra term: both sides are happy.
Kreider is big and skilled and is considered one of the top up-and-coming power forwards in the game. He is also a very important piece of the Rangers’ core moving forward. The 6-foot-3, 226-pounder is a consistent 20/20 40-point producer with a knack for scoring clutch goals come playoff time. In fact, he is coming off his second consecutive 40-point season with 21 goals and 22 assists for 43 total points. Kreider managed 21-25-46 the year before.
Kreider was one of six NHL players to register at least 20 goals, 40 points, a plus-10 rating and 50 penalty minutes this past season. Alex Ovechkin, Jonathan Toews, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and James Neal were the others.
“Hopefully I am just scratching the surface,” Kreider said Thursday at Smashfest, a charity ping-pong tournament hosted by former teammate Dominic Moore. “I am of the mindset that I am trying to get better every single day. I guess if you are not improving, there’s no point of doing it.”
The makeup of the Rangers’ roster could see further changes after center Derick Brassard was shipped to Ottawa in exchange for Mika Zibanejad earlier this week. If Kreider can find consistent chemistry with some new linemates this season, he definitely has the power and the drive to become quite a threat in the league.
The HockeyFanLand Insight:
Personally, I feel Kreider has yet to put all of his assets together at the NHL level. This contract is market value for his current production. Kreider already brings a lot of intangibles to the table, especially his size and speed. However, I believe Kreider is, as he suggested, just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential. He possesses all the tools necessary to be a dominant force in the NHL. Kreider is certainly capable of being more than a 40-50 point player. If he puts it all together, this could be an absolute steal for the franchise.
Featured Image Credit: Alex Brandon-Associated Press