The New York Rangers pulled off a trade today, one that the organization is extremely excited about. On Monday, the Rangers acquired forward Mika Zibanejad and a second-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft from the Ottawa Senators in a trade for forward Derick Brassard and a 2018 seventh-round pick.
Zibanejad, who just turned 23, had NHL career bests of 21 goals, 30 assists and 51 points last season, winning 50.4 percent of his faceoffs, joining Calgary Flames Sean Monahan as the only players 22 or younger to score 20 goals while winning at least 50 percent of faceoffs.
The Rangers are ecstatic about the completed deal.
“I think the potential is there for more upside,” New York general manager Jeff Gorton said. “He’s just scratching the surface at age 23. There’s not a lot of guys that have done what he’s done as far as score 20 before that age. He kills penalties. He’s really emerged on the draws. Since he’s come in, he’s gotten better every year, and I think we’re just scratching the surface. … This is a trade where we felt like we’re getting younger, we’re getting a player that has upside, and we really like the way he’s trending.”
Selected by Ottawa with the No. 6 pick of the 2011 NHL Draft, Zibanejad has had a promising 5 seasons with the Sens, notching 64 goals and 151 points in 281 games.
By parting ways with Brassard, the Rangers are saving $2.375 in cap space.
“You can say it’s cap space if that’s the way you want to look at it,” Gorton said. “But for us, this is a younger player that is almost six years younger that’s coming off two 20-goal seasons that we think is heading to the prime of his career. The ability to get him, to get a younger player, to get a guy that’s fast, big (6-foot-2, 222 pounds), plays real well in his own zone, can do a lot of things for us, that’s the exciting piece. The fact that we have salary-cap space is good and we’ll look at everything now.”
In Brassard, the Sens get a player who is coming off one of his most productive seasons and a proven commodity.
“We felt Mika has great potential down the road, but we felt with Derick we were getting someone that was more proven, and a better hockey player at this point in time,” Senators GM Pierre Dorion said, per Pro Hockey Talk. “Our ultimate goal is to make the playoffs again, and we feel Derick’s going to help us make the playoffs.”
“I really like the look of this team,” Brassard told the Senators website. “I’m very happy to join the Sens and to able to play at home.”
“He’s the left-handed center that we’ve coveted for a few years,” Dorion said. “Left-handed centers will make it easier to get the puck to our right wingers, and we have two pretty good ones in Mark Stone and Bobby Ryan.”