- Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.
New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider was the most coveted player at the NHL trade deadline. Apparently, no one coveted him more than his current team.
Kreider, 28, who was set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, was re-signed on Monday to a seven-year deal.
According to reports, he will get an annual average value of $6.5 million.
Kreider, who has spent his entire career in New York, has 24 goals and 21 assists in 60 games this season and is on pace to set career highs in both categories. He has had a productive February, posting six goals and five assists in 11 games.
A dozen teams were in the hunt for the winger’s services, including the Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche and New York Islanders.
But the Rangers were committed to trying to re-sign him. As of last Friday, a source said there was a “65% chance” of Kreider reupping, but that talks had reached an impasse on Sunday. The issue: The Rangers wanted to go six years with Kreider, at around $7 million annually, while the player was seeking seven. The $6.5 million AAV would appear to be the compromise.
He missed nearly two months of the 2017-18 season because of blood clots, undergoing two surgeries and spending nearly a week in the hospital.
While the Rangers, at 33-24-4, could post their first winning season since 2016-17, they have some ground to make up in the strong Metropolitan Division and could miss the playoffs for the third straight year. But in Kreider, they have secured an important piece as their collection of outstanding young players rounds into a contender.
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