Yesterday it looked as if New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider was headed to arbitration as the two sides could not seem to reach an agreement on a contract extension. However, on the day that arbitration was supposed to take place for Kreider, the restricted free agent winger blinked first and caved to the contract GM Glen Sather wanted him to take, which was a two-year deal worth a total of $4.95 million.
Now why did Kreider do this? There are multiple reasons as to why.
For one, I am sure Kreider is fully aware of the Rangers’ salary cap restrictions and inability to dish out big money. Another reason could be that after what Mats Zuccarello did. In taking about one million less than what he was projected to receive this year in order to help the Rangers out financially, Kreider wanted to follow in his teammate’s footsteps and think of the team more than himself. However, the main reason as to why Kreider caved to Sather’s deal is probably because he realized if his case went to arbitration he was going to be awarded either the amount Sather wanted to give him in the first place or possibly even a little less than what Sather offered.
As last season progressed, Kreider became a big part of the Rangers’ offense and power play success, but the fact of the matter is he started out last season in the AHL due to lack of consistency. Because of this and a late-season injury, Kreider ended up playing in 66 of the Rangers’ 82 regular games, recording 17 goals and 20 assists for a total of 37 points.
That’s a pretty good season for a player who did not even start the year in the NHL. But Kreider still has yet to play in a full regular season in his young career due to his inconsistencies, so how does he have the right to demand a contract worth anywhere from the high two millions to the low three millions per year? The answer is he cannot.
This is why he waited until the very last possible second to see if Sather would panic, which of course he did not, and then Kreider proceeded to blink, avoiding arbitration.