One of the most-watched potential trade pieces at this year’s NHL Trade Deadline is New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider. The consensus top rental available, should the Rangers choose to move him, he could fetch a hefty return for the blue shirts if enough teams are interested and a bit of a bidding war ensues.

All the while, it is believed the Rangers are interested in retaining Kreider and locking him in long-term if the numbers makes sense.

There could be one small hurdle.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports that there have yet to be any substantive talks between Kreider’s representatives and the Rangers management team about a new deal. That’s not a good sign considering the deadline is mere weeks away.

Why Everyone Wants Kreider

Chris Kreider may not bring you the most points of any forward on your team but he’s steady. Only 28, he’s on pace for his third season of more than 50 points. He would be headed for this fourth in four years if not for an injury that kept him out part of last season.

He plays a physical style of hockey which is great for a playoff contender looking for some jam in their lineup and he’s a leader in a number of ways for a team that might be younger and looking for an experienced voice.

With that in mind, there should be plenty of interested suitors if the Rangers and Kreider continue avoiding the extension conversation or choose not to have one at all. That wouldn’t be unheard of considering the New Jersey Devils never once made an offer to Taylor Hall before they moved him.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reported in the latest Insider Trading that should GM Jeff Gorton feel a trade is next step, he’s looking for the best deal possible and is willing to retain up to the maximum 50% of Kreider’s cap hit to get it.

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What’s the Hold Up in New York?

Part of why Kreider and the Rangers likely haven’t spoken yet is because the Rangers aren’t completely out of the playoff conversation. The other part is that, should they want to extend Kreider on a long-term deal, they’ll need to figure out the money.

If the Rangers make the post-season it would be silly to move Kreider unless he suggests little interest in staying. But, if he notes he wants to stay, New York needs to find at least $2 million more per season to ensure they have the money to match what he’ll likely be offered on the open market.

When you consider the Rangers have Kevin Shattenkirk’s non-existent but expensive contract on the books and players like Anthony DeAngelo in for a raise, money has to be spread around. It’s hard to forget the Rangers needs to decide on the futures for Ryan Strome and Alexandar Georgiev.

If the Rangers aren’t completely sure they can afford Kreider, it’s hard to know what to offer him at this stage in the season.

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