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Chris Kreider Arbitration Looms This Week

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Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Give the New York Rangers credit, for the most part their business is not aired out to dry in view of the public eye.

Take, for example, the Nick Holden trade, or the J.T. Miller contract negotiations or, well, anything really the past few years. The Rangers keep their business to themselves, and more often than not they’re the people who break their own news.

Which is why it’s impossible to speculate about the Rangers current negotiations with RFA Chris Kreider. He’s the focus right now because his arbitration hearing is slated for this week (July 22nd, full schedule for the Rangers RFAs here). Kevin Hayes, you’ll be on the front burner soon enough.

I’m going to assume Kreider is negotiating a long term deal. Not only is Kreider coming off a true bridge deal, but the Rangers have an opportunity to lock him up long term, buy out some of his UFA years and do so at a cheaper price since he’s coming off a “down year.” I quoted down year because if you take a look at the underlying numbers -- we’ve argued this a lot — Kreider had a great year muddled with some bad luck in terms of goals and assists.

The good news? There have been some comparable players who have inked up long term deals this year and in the past. General Fanager had this comparison based off the Jaden Schwartz signing this past week.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’d be thrilled to see Kreider ink that deal -- although I’d love for it to be longer. Kreider is the type of player you take a risk on, even though a large portion of the fanbase seems to believe Kreider is a bust and the team would be better served trading him.

For the record, here’s Kreider’s comparison to Schwartz courtesy of Own The Puck:

Similar production metrics (even though Kreider was coming off a down year), better shot suppression and better possession numbers. Kreider is more than worthy of the type of deal Schwartz locked down and the Rangers would be a better team for it.

As the Rangers move forward — and logic dictates something has to be brewing somewhere — these types of deals make a big difference moving forward. I lamented the Rangers inability or unwillingness to lock Miller down on a long term deal, but the Rangers don’t have a bridge deal to hide behind with Kreider anymore. They need to lock him up and they need to try to do so for as long as possible.

I can’t imagine things are going to go to arbitration between the two sides. The Rangers more than likely don’t want Kreider to have a single year to strut his stuff — which could make him far more expensive. No, Kreider isn’t the guy to worry about when it comes to arbitration. The real fear should be Hayes, if anyone, but we’ll burn that bridge when we get there.

For now the focus is on Kreider; a player worth betting on. Now the Rangers get to show him that, too.