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JD/Gorton talk Kreider, don't reveal much not already known

August 9, 2019, 12:19 PM ET [89 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Chris Kreider, the biggest unrestricted free agent for the Rangers after the upcoming season, received a lukewarm vote of confidence from team president John Davidson on Thursday. What JD said comes as little surprise to most of us, based upon where the team is right now, and didn't really break any new ground. This will be a situation that we all monitor all season and have no resolution until just before the deadline, at best, but could possibly trail all year into the off-season.

“I totally expect him to be in camp,” Davidson said. “It’s hard to make promises. Things change, but Chris is a valued member of the New York Rangers and I look forward to him having a great camp and a great run with us. He’s got one year left, and that should be a whole lot of importance to him to come in and have a great camp and a great year, and we’ll just see where it all goes."

With Kreider, as we have discussed ad nauseum, ad infinitum, it's years and $ that will play a large role if he returns. The latter has taken on even more importance following New York's signing of Artemi Panarin to a seven-year, $81.5 million deal (annual salary-cap hit just over $11.6 million), Jacob Trouba (seven years, $56M, cap hit $8M) and Pavel Buchnevich (two years, $3.25 million per season). In addition, with about $7.5 million in dead cap space next season, following the buyout of Kevin Shattenkirk along with what remains from Dan Girardi and Ryan Spooner (Edmonton buyout), available cap space is a bit tight, especially if CK20 will want six years with a 6-7 mil AAV.

Kreider, who is making $4.625 million this season, tied his NHL career best with 28 goals last season, and his 52 points was one fewer than his best. But as we all know, much of that production came early before he slumped, partially due to playing through an injury. You know my view - as well as TPC's on CK20 - but based one what JD said above and GM Jeff Gorton says below, it’s unclear whether the Rangers want or plan to sign Kreider to a new deal. Maybe we see some progress during the season and get more a sense in which direction this is going. But in all likelihood, expect status quo until just before the trade deadline with a move possibly dependent on where NY is in the standings and how well the team is playing.

“We’ll deal with that,” Gorton said. “We’ll continue to talk to Chris and see what’s next for him, but we’ll start with training camp, get him going on the right path, hopefully he’s helping us win games, and then we’ll figure it out.

"I think that can go a long ways because he's been there, he's done that," Gorton said. "He's a good player. He's obviously a top-six forward and he's somebody that when he's producing takes the edge off young players too (meaning Vitali Kravtsov and Kaapo Kakko). There's not so much pressure to produce if you have other guys leading the way. For a lot of reasons, Chris is an important player."

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