The Rangers won again on Saturday, three in a row and seven of the last eight after this 3-2 win against Sharks at the Garden, which kept the team within four points of a playoff spot with 21 games in the season.
It's all so tempting, isn't it? The trading period is set at 3 p.m. on Monday – not only the 7-1 record of the past two weeks, but also the 14-6 mark since Igor Shesterkin's NHL debut on January 7th.
The playoff dream just doesn't seem so impossible now, does it?
Even in this sudden era of feeling good about flooding the franchise, owners and management need to keep an eye on the big price and not intermediate balls like an unexpected berth after the season.
The deadline must be about the next year and the year after and the two or three after and not about the next six weeks or the last two months. This is not a time for the discipline that the front office has shown in the past 24 months to dissolve in excited optimism.
That means there is too much at stake for the blues shirts to keep Chris Kreider if the team is unable to agree on a contract extension with the winger before the deadline. As we reported on Friday, the club preferred to keep number 20 rather than selling the outstanding free agent as a rental for a package of futures.
Sources from across the league seem to believe that Kreider is not being traded. Still, it doesn't seem like the Rangers are closer to a Kreider expansion than 48 hours ago when the rift was significant. So it is unclear whether the parties can bridge the gap the next day.
If they can't reach an agreement – and this is a flawless scenario where both sides have alternatives – then General Manager Jeff Gorton and President John Davidson would have no choice but to move, however painful the BC Kid may be in the short term ,
Going 7-1 or 14-6 cannot make people silly. The future set by management cannot be this April, even if it looks like the current staff is well placed to take on the fight against the islanders, blue jackets, candy canes, puddy Tats and Maple Leafs for one of the two wild ones in the east Cards. This is not a time to short-circuit the process, no matter how tempting it may be.
This is the time to trust the program and work diligently to extend Kreider's contract so that the blueshirts are an impressive top against an improving defense and a lockdown tandem in networks with Shesterkin (9: 1). 6 can present 10 NHL starts after the 44th performance on Saturday, in which his team was overtaken in the first half with 22: 3.
"Posture between the pipes," said Kreider. "If you have that, you can win a lot of games."
The Rangers and their coaching staff have made the deadline virtually irrelevant. This is in stark contrast to the past two years, when a pall emerged in the club weeks before the expected sales. A sellout was expected this year as well, but you wouldn't know it if you saw this group.
"We know that we have that inside us. It only comes down to things that we can control, such as work ethic and attention to detail," Mika Zibanejad told The Post. "Winning solves everything. We only think about the next shift , the next period, the next game.
“We come to the ice rink every day and concentrate on how we can improve. We are not consumed by trade talks. Everyone is aware of it, but we don't control it. What we control is our game. What happens just happens.
"If there are trades, we will take care of it and go out and play."
Unless it is likely not going to be so easy if Kreider is torn away or if Jesper Fast, who has met the Sharks twice and is also a pending free agent, is treated for a second or third round player. Actually, it won't be that easy for a Rangers team whose next game is Tuesday against the Islanders in the Coliseum.
Maybe 14-6 since January 7th changed the landscape for Gorton and Davidson, but the Rangers shouldn't be as seduced as the front office in 2015-16 by a run in the middle of winter that led to Eric Staal's unfortunate hire purchase led. You can't keep Kreider for the next two months unless you keep him for the next six or seven years. This cannot be kicked down the street.
Sign or trade.
Remember the Tavares.