The Taylor Hall trade could force the New York Rangers to address Chris Kreider’s situation quicker than anticipated.
Kreider and Hall have very little in common, aside from playing in the same Metropolitan Division, but the hockey story of this very moment travels deeper than the casual viewer.
Hall packing his gear and heading to Arizona equates to Chris Krieder’s name once again resurfacing in the trade category. From a Rangers perspective, it should move the needle.
Can the Rangers obtain high draft picks and/or NHL-ready players for the power forward? Are they ready to move on from the man after eight seasons in New York?
The Hall trade:
- Arizona acquires Taylor Hall and Blake Speers.
- New Jersey acquires a 2020 first-round draft pick, a third-round selection (conditional) in 2021 and three prospects, defenseman Kevin Bahl and forwards Nick Merkley and Nate Schnarr.
Hall is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, as is Kreider, so this was a big gamble for Arizona. They gave up a lot for a rental player, though some believe the Devils didn’t get enough.
It’s important to recognize the assets gained in a trade of this magnitude so that the Rangers organization can make sure they get the best deal if they choose to trade Kreider.
NHL.com reporter Dan Rosen tweeted the backgrounds of the three prospects the Devils received in the deal.
- Dahl is 6-7, 240 LHD, No. 55 pick in 2018, 20 pts in 28 games with Ottawa of the OHL this season.
- Nick Merkley (oft-injured) was No. 30 pick in 2015, 16 pts in 26 games with Tucson in AHL.
- Nate Schnarr was No. 75 pick in 2017, 9 pts in 22 games with TUC.
It’s still early in these player’s careers, but it doesn’t appear to be an exclusive list of prospects traded for a former NHL MVP.
Is Kreider in the same class as Hall?
Over the last three seasons, Kreider has played in 169 games, scoring 55 goals with 106 points. Last season, he tallied a career-high in goals when he found the back of the net 28 times.
Hall appeared in 139 games, scoring 56 goals with 155 points. He won the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP in 2017-18.
The two score goals at somewhat of a similar pace (at least over the last three seasons), but Hall led the duo in assist. Both have been extremely inconsistent this season, combining for just 13 goals.
Until this season, Hall was the better of the two. This early trade now puts the ball in the Rangers’ court. The toughest part for the Rangers organization is the answer to these two questions;
- Is there a future that includes Kreider with the Rangers?
- Can the Rangers acquire a first-round pick in exchange for CK?
Kreider will be traded by the trade deadline. He is a solid hockey player, a homegrown Ranger, but his erratic play has grown old in New York. The organization has not mentioned any discussions with Kreider’s camp, and with the new year 15 days away, a trade is the most likely scenario.
The asset gained is another topic of discussion.
At last year’s trade deadline, only two teams made deals involving first-round picks. One of those deals involved the Rangers in the trade with the Winnipeg Jets for Kevin Hayes.
Arizona already gave up its 2020 first-round choice to New Jersey. The play of Kreider this year, along with his UFA status, makes a first-rounder unlikely.
Added to the equation of what Kreider might ask for when contract negotiations start might make other teams weary to give up a No. 1 for a rental player. He will probably be looking for a return similar to the one Hayes received from Philadelphia this summer.
To remind everyone, Hayes signed a 7-year, $50-million contract that included a modified no-trade clause over the last four years of the deal.
No disrespect to Kreider, but the Rangers are probably not willing to make an offer anywhere near that for a player who will turn 29 in April 2020.
As far as Hall and Kreider are concerned, each showcase a different style of play while remaining on the same UFA track. One was traded and the other awaits a decision that may involve a trade.
The Rangers need to decide in the near future what they think is the best for the club. The faster a decision and deal are offered, the tastier the potential return.
The organization needs to avoid another last-minute trade of a familiar face. The goal is maximizing the return, not producing another Kevin Hayes or Mats Zuccarello situation.