With Taylor Hall off the trade market, Chris Kreider is getting a lot of votes as the next-most sought after rental player in the NHL. And, one team in particular might have interest.
Rob Rossi of The Athletic (subscription required) focused on the Pittsburgh Penguins and speculated as to what the team might do after the loss of Jake Guentzel, now out four-to-six months with a shoulder injury. Despite a variety of injuries, the Penguins are still in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. And, after placing Guentzel on LTIR, the Pittsburgh Penguins have about $6 million to go out and improve their roster to maintain that position. Rossi believes Penguins GM Jim Rutherford may not address replacing Guentzel right away, will do so before the trade deadline.
In fact, Rossi believes the Penguins could make a big splash by targeting Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers. Rossi suggests that if the Rangers elect not to re-sign Kreider (which the Rangers may choose to do) Rutherford should be willing to move a first-round pick to land him. He writes:
… Rutherford should feel comfortable exchanging his 2020 first-round pick — even if it is for a rental player.
His top target should be Chris Kreider, a left winger for the New York Rangers. Kreider would come with a $4.625 million cap hit, but he is on an expiring contract. Only 28, he is unlikely to pass up becoming an unrestricted free agent, so the Penguins would essentially be renting Kreider for the rest of this season.
Penguins Won’t Be the Only Interested Team
Elliotte Friedman noted in his latest 31 Thoughts article that Kreider is getting a ton of interest around the NHL. With that in mind, the Penguins aren’t going to be the only interested party should Kreider become officially available.
It may take a first-round pick to acquire him.