While it wasn’t looking likely on Sunday that the Rangers would reach an extension with Chris Kreider, that has changed. The Rangers announced (Twitter link) that they’ve agreed to a seven-year extension with the winger. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman adds (via Twitter) that the deal carries a $6.5MM AAV.
For most of the season, it was believed that extension talks were virtually non-existent but that changed in recent days with the trade deadline fast approaching. GM Jeff Gorton was still fielding offers throughout the process and evidently decided that a new deal was preferable to whatever the top offer was from elsewhere.
The 28-year-old has spent the entirety of his eight-year career with the Rangers who drafted him 19th overall back in 2009. He has emerged as one of the better power forwards in the league over that time and is on pace to set new career highs offensively. This season, he has 24 goals and 21 assists in 60 games while averaging 17:33 per night, the highest average of his career.
The seven-year term certainly carries some risk as players that play a physical style that Kreider does tend to wear down towards the end of their career. Yesterday, it was believed that New York only wanted to go six years but they have relented on that desire. On the other hand, it ensures that his prime years will be spent in New York where he will continue to be part of their core. The deal represents a nice raise on his current $4.625MM AAV.
GM Jeff Gorton will soon need to free up some cap space for next season and beyond. The Rangers now have more than $72MM tied up in 16 players for next season with Ryan Strome, Anthony DeAngelo, Alexandar Georgiev, and Brendan Lemieux all restricted free agents next summer. That means there is likely more movement to come by next season but the cap-clearing move may have to come over the offseason.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
TSN’s Darren Dreger was the first to report that an extension was close.