Craig Smith Body-Double
The New York Rangers have spent the last couple of seasons trying to implode their team to create a rebuild. They want fans to “Trust the Process” the Philadelphia 76ers made so popular on their quest out of the depths of the NBA. In large part, the 76ers were successful in their “process” and have produced one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference the past two seasons.
The Rangers hope to mimic that success and have sold off every quality part of their roster the past two trade deadlines to get younger players and a plethora of draft picks. They only have a few, solid options left that the Predators would want.
It is no secret the Predators want and need more scoring. Chris Kreider provides that. He has done nothing but score goals since becoming a full-time NHLer in the 2013-2014 season. Since then, Kreider has produced 86 goals at 5v5. He trails only Craig Smith (91) of current Nashville Predators skaters. Kreider also has potted 35 goals on the power play in that time, good for first on the Predators ahead of Filip Forsberg‘s 32. Kreider lends his game to Smith a lot. He plays fast and shoots often.
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Not only would Kreider reduce the Predators salary cap by $4 million, he is also only signed for one more season. That allows the Predators ultimate flexibility in the future. The draft picks also limit the risk if Kreider has a bad season or gets injured and the Predators don’t resign him after the season. That $4 million will help tremendously in negotiations with Roman Josi.
The Rangers get an elite defenseman to pair with Brady Skjei since Kevin Shattenkirk never really panned out. Not to mention, the Rangers hold a ton of draft stock including the 2nd overall pick in the 2019 draft that could net them either Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko. The Rangers will have the cap space for the next few years while the majority of their roster is under entry-level contracts (ELC). Subban’s contract has three more years left. Perfect timing.