The New York Rangers have agreed to terms on a contract with forward Chris Kreider, thereby avoiding their scheduled arbitration hearing. The deal is for a reported four years to the tune of $18.5 million, which is an average annual value of $4.625 million.
The 25-year-old from Boxford had 43 points in 79 games, including 21 goals. He had eight points on the power play, five of which were goals. He also had two goals in five playoff games.
“Hopefully I am just scratching the surface,” Kreider said Thursday. “I am of the mindset that I am trying to get better every single day. I guess if you are not improving, there’s no point of doing it.”
Had the Kreider case gone to arbitration, the Rangers would’ve had to come up with a one-year contract that would’ve only served to leverage the possibilities of the next deal. The forward had submitted a value of $4.75 million, while the Rangers countered with a contract value of $3.2 million. That significant gulf would’ve stuck the arbitrator somewhere in the middle.
So in effect, the Rangers and Kreider worked things out rather well.
New York is still waiting for Kreider to really hit his stride and that could come this season. He managed 21 goals two seasons in a row, with 46 points in the 2014-2015 season. In 2013-2014, he posted 37 points in 66 games.
The ace in the hole could be his playoff experience, as he already has 65 games of post-season experience and has 33 points to show for himself. Those are pretty solid numbers.
This is the second time Kreider has avoided arbitration with the Rangers, with his previous contract signed mere hours before the hearing was scheduled. To some, that may suggest a divide between player and franchise. To others, it’s business as usual on Broadway.
“I guess it’s just part of the process,” Kreider said. “You can’t let the business side of things frustrate you.”
The Rangers have signed J.T. Miller and Dylan McIlrath to new deals this summer, avoiding arbitration hearings. They still have forward Kevin Hayes to contend with and his hearing is scheduled for July 27.