The New York Rangers have had quite the offseason, scoring Artemi Panarin in free agency, acquiring Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba through trade and drafting Kaapo Kakko second overall. The team looks ready to take the next step towards contending, but still do have several expiring contracts on the books. Most notable is Chris Kreider, who remains an effective power forward option but is heading towards unrestricted free agency next summer. Kreider’s name has been involved in trade speculation for months, and Larry Brooks of the New York Post tweeted today that multiple sources told him the 28-year old’s name “is out there everywhere.”
After signing Panarin and Trouba to huge long-term contracts the Rangers actually find themselves with a bit of a cap problem. They currently project over the $81.5MM ceiling and have until tomorrow evening to decide whether they want to buy out one of their contracts to relieve some pressure. Kevin Shattenkirk and Brendan Smith have been listed as the most likely, though a trade of Kreider could also get the Rangers to a tenable cap situation. The forward carries a $4.625MM cap hit this season and holds an 11-team no-trade clause.
- Immediately after the news broke that Paul Fenton had been fired by the Minnesota Wild, reports surfaced over who may be considered as a replacement. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports that the Wild have already reached out to the Philadelphia Flyers for permission to speak with Ron Hextall. The former Flyers’ GM was relieved of his duties last November and is still technically under contract, though it seems unlikely that they would stand in the way of him taking the Minnesota job. Interestingly the man who replaced Hextall in Philadelphia, Chuck Fletcher, is the same GM who was fired in Minnesota only to be replaced by Fenton.
- Though it was the New Jersey Devils who eventually landed Nikita Gusev from the Vegas Golden Knights, there was another team involved in the pursuit of the Russian winger. Vegas executive George McPhee admitted as much to Jesse Granger of The Athletic (subscription required), telling him that two teams made offers for Gusev and the Golden Knights went “back and forth for probably a couple weeks.” Granger was told that team was the Columbus Blue Jackets, but his Athletic colleague Arthur Staple also reports that the New York Islanders were “in the mix” for Gusev but didn’t like the contract terms he was looking for. Gusev eventually signed a two-year, $9MM contract with the Devils.