Chris Kreider is one of the top names in the NHL ahead of next month's commercial deadline, and for good reason. He is an effective striker, perhaps playing the best hockey of his career (17 goals, 15 assists in 48 games); his contract lasts until the 2020-21 season in a friendly team US $ 4.625 million achieved.
Many teams hoping to compete in the spring and next season are sure to check Kreider availability next month, but Boston Bruins sees him as their main commercial goal next month. Joe Haggerty of NBC Sports Boston cited anonymous hockey sources in his report, who also noted that it is possible that New York will remain on the Kreider for the rest of the season.
The Rangers (23-21-4, 50 points) are 10 points out of the Eastern Conference until Tuesday's qualifying and are unlikely to make the playoffs – but general manager Jeff Gorton is still evaluating his list. How Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet observed on Wednesday, the Rangers have consecutive games with the NHL's worst Detroit Red Wings after the All-Star break. An increase in early February could convince Gorton to hold on for Kreider, even if he does TSN's "Trade Bait" plate.
Let's say that Gorton decides that he is willing to change the Kreider; how likely is it that he will land in Boston?
Apparently, the Bruins need help in the ward each season; they have been connected to Kreider before. Symbolically it helps that he grew up in Boxford, Massachusetts, and played at Boston College; the team has some Boston area natives on the list already. The Bruins have long had a top line of elite players in Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. It is in the second-tier wing positions that the club has consistently sought help in recent years, and it is where Kreider can fit in.
Kreider has a reported 11 teams' non-negotiation clause in his contract, but Boston's status as a clear candidate for the Stanley Cup should make it a problem. Sweeney has the first round draft that the Rangers supposedly want as a starting point for an agreement with Kreider; he has younger wards, like Anders Bjork, which could grow into the role that Kreider can leave behind in Manhattan as well.
Boston is right against the salary cap ($ 566,824 in space on January 22), which could make it difficult to complete a deal, but that hasn't stopped Sweeney and Gorton from negotiating before: Boston acquired Rick Nash from the Rangers in a 2018 commercial term contract in exchange for a package that included three players, two draft choices and wages withheld from Matt Beleskey's contract to make everything work.
The NHL commercial term is February 24.