The Pittsburgh Penguins are among a crowd of teams which have been keeping tabs on the New York Rangers progress with potential unrestricted free agent winger Chris Kreider, according to Sportsnet reporter Elliot Friedman who reported the Penguins trade interest during the Hockey Night in Canada Headlines segment.
Friedman reported several top teams are interested in Krieder and have been in contact with New York GM Jeff Gorton. However, Gorton has not decided if they will make Kreider available or continue trying to re-sign the 28-year-old left-winger who has 24 points including 11 goals this season.
Kreider, 28, has been one of the underrated power forwards in the NHL for several years. In 497 career games, Kreider has 144 goals and 294 points. Last season, Kreider tied his career-high with 28 goals.
“All of the contenders, from Colorado to Boston, to St. Louis, to Pittsburgh, are all believed to be interested,” Friedman said.
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has reportedly expressed interest in adding a scoring winger. Though Rutherford has not yet had a chance to view his team at full strength. The Penguins have been one of the most injured teams in the NHL this season.
Last season, New York traded long-time Rangers Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes at the trade deadline. Kreider would be the third New York stalwart who was a part of the New York 2014 Eastern Conference championship to be traded if New York chooses to do so.
The Penguins trade rumors have focused on a winger this season because with a healthy roster they will still rely on a winger not considered a traditional top-six forward on one of their scoring lines. Dominik Kahun, Dominik Simon and Patric Hornqvist are the likely candidates to rotate through the lines.
“(Kreider) likes being a Ranger. Teams don’t believe–right now–the Rangers have made him available, but they’re waiting to see if the Rangers decide they can’t keep him. And if the Rangers want to trade him, there is a ton of interest,” Friedman said.
On Thursday, Pittsburgh Hockey Now included Kreider on the Trade Deadline Rental Wingers Watch List with a full scouting report.