NEW YORK (AP) The New York Rangers signed forward Chris Kreider to a four-year contract worth $18.5 million in a last-minute deal that helped the sides avoid arbitration.
General manager Jeff Gorton announced the agreement on Friday. Hours later, he also announced the signing of the Rangers' other major restricted free agent, center Kevin Hayes.
Hayes signed a two-year contract for $5.2 million. He was scheduled to have an arbitration hearing next week.
Kreider's new contract will pay him an average of $4.6 million and keep him the team through 2020. It also includes a modified no-trade clause that prevents the 25-year-old Kreider from being traded to 11 teams.
''What happens in this type of deal is that both sides have stated positions and when the specter of `arb' comes, it drives both sides closer,'' Matt Keator, Kreider's agent, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. ''For us, the term was the right amount and for the team that amount was the right amount, so we were able to come together on both sides.
''It worked out fine, and Chris loves New York and wants to be there.''
Keator said both sides were ready to present their cases Friday morning before reaching an agreement.
Kreider had 21 goals and 22 assists in 79 games for New York and a plus-10 rating. He established career-highs in even-strength goals (16) and hits (177), and he tied his career-high in goals, set the previous season.
Kreider was one of six NHL players who registered at least 20 goals, 40 points, a plus-10 rating, and 50 penalty minutes this past season. Alex Ovechkin, Jonathan Toews, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, and James Neal were the others.
He ranked third on the team in power play goals (five), fourth in even strength goals, fifth in goals and even strength points (35), and tied for fifth in points. Kreider also led the Rangers in goals (15) and ranked second on the team in points (26) on the road this past season.
The 6-foot-3, 226-pounder had two goals in five playoff games.
Kreider has skated in 248 career NHL games with the Rangers, registering 61 goals and 68 assists, along with a plus-47 rating. He is the only Ranger who has recorded at least 20 goals in each of the last two seasons.
In 65 career NHL playoff games, Kreider has 20 goals and 13 assists.
The native of Boxford, Massachusetts, was selected by the Rangers in the first round, 19th overall, of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
Hayes had 14 goals and 22 assists in 79 games this past season He established career-highs in game-winning goals (three), power play goals (three), power play points (six), and shots on goal (133).
Hayes tied for fifth on the team in even strength assists (19), sixth in primary assists (14), and tied for sixth in assists, power play goals, and even strength points (30) this past season.
The 6-foot-5, 227-pounder, who was signed as a free agent in 2014, has 31 goals and 50 assists and a plus-19 rating in 158 career games with the Rangers.