New York Rangers: Chris Kreider may not be going anywhere

The Jason Zucker trade could have a major effect on the New York Rangers trading Chris Kreider.

The Pittsburgh Penguins made a big trade to reel in Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker yesterday. This deal sets the market for the approaching deadline, and it affects the New York Rangers trading Chris Kreider in a major way.

Now, keep in mind, Zucker was one of the few available players that had term and wasn’t purely a rental. That said, for teams looking at grabbing a rental at the deadline, they won’t need to give up quite as much. However, Kreider is the top option and will likely require a decent haul to pry him away from the Rangers.

For the past two deadlines, Kreider’s name has been thrown around in trade rumors. However, each time, Kreider has stuck around, out-lasting fan-favorite Mats Zuccarello, former captain Ryan McDonagh and others. It got me thinking that there has to be a reason for him to remain in New York.

There’s no doubt that Kreider brings a great element to each game with his speed and skill, mixed with his tenacity and physicality. He also brings plenty of leadership qualities, which is great for a young team looking to rebuild. Those traits are invaluable to a team like the Rangers. That said, the asking price was probably a bit too high the past few deadlines, so no team went for it.

This season, however, Kreider has 20 goals and 18 assists for 38 points in 53 games, as of February 11th. He is likely going to surpass last season’s mark of 52 points and his career-high (set in 2016-17) of 53 by season’s end. That said, his value is at its highest point in years. Not to mention, he was invited to the NHL All-Star Game to represent the Rangers.

With everything that has happened this season, Kreider’s value continues to rise, and being the clear-cut top option at the deadline gives the Rangers all the leverage in trade talks. Despite that, several teams are known to be in the sweepstakes, which includes the Boston Bruins. Guess what? If there are a lot of interested teams, it drives the price of a player further up, as now the player goes to the team who makes the best offer.

Now put all the pieces together. The Rangers have had multiple chances to send Kreider to a new team in the past, but decided against doing so each time because of the value he gives them. Now, in the midst of a career-best season, where his value continues to rise exponentially, teams are in a bidding war for him. The Penguins trade happens, which includes a roster player, an A-level prospect, and a 2020 1st round pick for a deadline asset with term, and that sets the base of what the Rangers could ask for: a 1st round pick, a roster player, and, at the very least, a B-level prospect.

In the Bruins case, a Kreider deal could look something like Urho Vaakanainen, Danton Heinen and a 2020 1st round pick for him. That kind of price for a 28-year-old rental seems extremely steep. Not to mention the fact that the Rangers seemingly want to bring Kreider back, which was made apparent in the report of Kreider meeting with the team about a possible extension, and you have a team who won’t back down from their steep asking price.

Next: One Player Each Team Should Trade

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Kreider seems like the type of player who remains loyal to his team. He embodies the player that the Rangers want to be a role model for young guys like Kaapo Kakko and Filip Chytil. That said, despite having a few big free agents to re-sign, I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see Kreider be brought back to New York.

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