With the trade deadline approaching, the writing is on the wall for Chris Kreider and the New York Rangers.
Brooks reported on Sunday evening that the two sides have reached a stalemate in their negotiations. A trade is imminent with the Rangers fearful that they could lose out on a huge return for if they don’t move the veteran forward.
“The divide on the contract term, with the Rangers offering six years and Kreider asking for the seven years he will almost certainly command on the open market July 1, remained an immovable obstacle neither side was able or willing to hurdle in order to make a deal,” wrote Brooks. “There was also a difference in the money, with the Blueshirts believed offering under $7 million per.”
The failure to re-sign Kreider has a ripple effect all across the team’s lineup and in the locker room.
Jesper Fast, also an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, could wind up playing for a new team by the end of Monday. Had the club re-signed Kreider, it was believed they would have committed to a playoff run and not trade “Quickie” who is the heart and soul of this hockey team.
Trading Kreider would end the hope of keeping things intact, and if Fast goes as well, that’s the third-straight season where the Rangers are big-time sellers at the deadline. The Rangers’ playoff run would take a major hit should this occur.
Kreider and the Rangers have decided not to cross the line in the sand. It’s a decision that might have been avoided had both sides decided to pursue the situation earlier in the year.
The opportunity for Kreider to sign a sizeable contract is understandable and an earned opportunity for the 28-year-old. Team president John Davidson and the organization have stood firm in their beliefs and are not going beyond a six-year deal (as Brooks has reported).
Salary is another sticky point in the negotiations, but in the end, it appears both sides are refusing to budge off of what they believe is a fair deal.
The Rangers have until 3 p.m. ET time Monday to trade Kreider, a player who has never skated for any other team in the National Hockey League.
An expected return could be a 2020 first-round draft pick with either an elite prospect or an NHL-ready player. Whatever the return, the team will surely suffer a letdown after losing an All-Star and one-third of the KZB line.
There really isn’t anyone to blame here. This is a business decision for both sides, first and foremost.
Kreider knows this could be his only opportunity to strike a wealthy contract. The Rangers understand that re-signing Kreider to a long-term contract is not the smartest move. After all, the club is likely at least two or three more years away from a legitimate run at the Stanley Cup.
Monday could turn out to be a very depressing day for the organization and its fans. To their credit, JD and general manager Jeff Gorton have laid out a gameplan, roster wise and financially, that they are unwilling to change.
Unfortunately, this gameplan seems to be extra painful this season. One where a bunch of rookies and some veterans have brought the hockey team to within two wins of a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.