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All-Star Game

Kreider focused on Rangers, not trade speculation, at All-Star Game

Forward in final season of contract says winning 'solves a lot of problems'

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

ST. LOUIS -- Chris Kreider said he isn't allowing himself to get consumed by speculation that the New York Rangers, the only NHL team the 28-year-old forward has played for, could trade him within the next month.

"I've only ever pictured myself in a Rangers jersey, and until I'm not a Ranger, I'm a Ranger," Kreider said Thursday during All-Star Game Media Day. "Taking it one day at a time, focusing on trying to win hockey games and punch our ticket to go to the [Stanley Cup Playoffs]." 

Kreider is taking the place of injured teammate Artemi Panarin in the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS). Kreider, who has 32 points (17 goals, 15 assists) in 48 games, is in the final season of a four-year contract and could become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and there has been no public indication from either him or New York of negotiations toward a new contract.

 

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The Rangers (23-21-4) are 11 points behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference, which is another factor that makes him a candidate to be moved before the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 24.

Instead, he said he is focused on the Rangers' chances of climbing the standings to move closer to a playoff spot. They play 13 games before the trade deadline.

"We have an opportunity here," Kreider said. "We play a lot in February. We've played two less games than a lot of teams and we can make up ground here if we have a good month. So that's what we're focused on and that's all I'm worried about."

Video: Clutch Performance: Kreider nets the game-winner

Kreider was asked if he thinks a strong next few weeks could force the Rangers to keep him even if he doesn't have a contract for next season.

"I think winning solves a lot of problems," he said. "I think winning is a pretty good thing. That's why you play the game and that's the only thing you can focus on. It's the only thing anyone should be focusing on at any point in the season." 

Kreider has watched others in his position leave the Rangers in recent seasons, including forwards Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes last season, when each was in the final year of his contract and a pending unrestricted free agent. 

Video: Players express excitement at All-Star Media Day

Zuccarello was traded to the Dallas Stars on Feb. 23, two days prior to the trade deadline. Hayes was traded to the Winnipeg Jets on deadline day, when the Rangers were nine points out of a playoff spot with 20 games remaining.

"I think it'd be disingenuous to try to embody how someone else went about this situation," Kreider said. "I'm just trying to be myself every day. I'm one of the older guys on the team. I've been around so I'm trying to carry myself like a good pro, trying to do the right things. I don't think my approach has really changed at all, just trying to get better, just like everyone on our team regardless of age or contract situation."

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