Chris Kreider’s future with the New York Rangers is up in the air, and trade deadline is getting closer every day. Which teams would be smart to trade for him?
For the third consecutive season, the New York Rangers are one of the focal points of the trade deadline. After spending the last two trade deadlines selling off players like Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes, they once again have one of the prizes of the deadline in Chris Kreider.
This season, the 28-year-old Kreider has had an under the radar solid season with 17 goals and 32 points in 48 games while playing on the Rangers’ top line, putting him on pace for a career best season. He’s also in the last season of a four-year contract that pays him $4.625 million against the salary cap, with an 11 team no-trade clause. He’s currently at the top of TSN’s Trade Bait Board.
Kreider being dealt before the trade deadline is not yet set in stone, however. He and the Rangers are still potentially talking about a contract extension, but that would need to be done before the deadline passes, because they cannot afford to lose him for nothing at this point of the franchise’s rebuild.
Should the Rangers commit to putting Kreider on the market, they will certainly get one of the better return packages of the deadline. Here are the five teams that should trade for Kreider at the deadline to bolster their playoff chances.
The Colorado Avalanche have been linked to just about every higher end player on the trade block so far this season, but Kreider especially seems like he’ll be a perfect fit on a skilled Avalanche team pushing for a Stanley Cup early in their championship window.
The Avalanche are a safe bet to make the Stanley Cup playoffs right now, as they sit in second place in the Central Division with 62 points. Their Stanley Cup window has flung open with their young core playing at an elite level, and they’re looking to take advantage of their cost controlled talent before the salary cap starts to constrict them. This season and next might be the best chance Colorado has at a Stanley Cup with this core.
Kreider would be a natural fit for the Avalanche. His speed and skill will fit seamlessly onto the already talented roster, while adding an elite net front presence and physicality that the Avalanche can use some more of in their top six. Adding Kreider would also strengthen their power play, and some of the pressure of their top talent.
The Avalanche have everything needed to make this trade work. They have nearly $7 million in salary cap room, which is more than enough to fit Kreider for the rest of the season without having to move any pieces off the team. They can add him and even more pieces for a playoff run if they desire.
Colorado also has the assets to entice the Rangers into making the move. They obviously have their own first round pick this season, but they also have one of the deepest prospect cores in the NHL. Obviously Bowen Byram is untouchable, but the likes of Martin Kaut or Shane Bowers packaged along with the first round pick would be a tough package for the Rangers to turn down. Of all the teams on this list, Colorado is the one with the leverage to close the deal.
If the Avalanche are serious about making a go for it this season, then there is no better option than Kreider for them to pursue. But it’s also important that they get him first because if they don’t, the next team on the list might, and can make the Avalanche pay later on.