Grading New York Rangers' Deals at the 2015 Trade Deadline
The NHL trade deadline came and went with little fanfare, mostly because the major deals were struck before Monday, March 2. The New York Rangers were very active the night before, and deals were made that impact the current roster, as well as future rosters.
The biggest deal involved Keith Yandle and Anthony Duclair, but there were also some other deals of significance. With the final stretch toward the playoffs underway, here is an evaluation of the Blueshirts' deadline deals.
Rangers Acquire James Sheppard
To New York Rangers: James Sheppard
To San Jose Sharks: 2016 fourth-round pick
The New York Rangers dealt a fourth-round pick to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for forward James Sheppard, and it was a deal that makes a ton of sense.
The Rangers looked to upgrade their fourth line, and the acquisition of Sheppard makes the Rangers a better team. Sheppard is a defensive forward who can play all three forward positions, but he will likely be utilized at wing.
His addition appears to signify the end of Tanner Glass as a lineup regular, as Sheppard should be in the lineup on Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings, according to Sean Hartnett of WFAN/CBS New York. He is a rental player, but a 2016 fourth-rounder is a very disposable asset.
Rangers Acquire Carl Klingberg
To New York Rangers: Carl Klingberg
To Winnipeg Jets: Lee Stempniak
The Rangers' trade of Lee Stempniak was a head-scratcher, as the West Seneca, New York, native was playing well for the Blueshirts. He has nine goals and 18 points, and he added veteran depth to the bottom six.
Carl Klingberg is a quasi-prospect who has appeared in only two games this season, but he was jettisoned to the AHL. Trading a viable asset for someone like Klingberg is odd, especially when you consider the amount of draft picks that changed hands during the trade window.
Rangers Acquire Keith Yandle
To New York Rangers: Keith Yandle, Chris Summers and 2015 fourth-round pick
To Arizona Coyotes: Anthony Duclair, John Moore, 2015 second-round pick and 2016 first-round pick
The Rangers went to the Stanley Cup Final last season and were unsuccessful against the Los Angeles Kings. This season, the team is playing better than it did at this point last year, and general manager Glen Sather felt he had to make a move to go for it.
Yandle is an elite offensive defender who instantly makes the Rangers' defense one of the best in the NHL, and he will really help the power play. The Coyotes are retaining half his salary, which makes the deal cost-effective for the Rangers.
The price for Yandle was a steep one, as Anthony Duclair could be a future 30-goal All-Star winger. John Moore is also a decent defender who is only 24, and the two draft picks are also bound to help in two drafts full of promising young prospects.
As I wrote in great length here, this is certainly is a trade that helps the Rangers today, but one that could hurt them in the long run.
Rangers Keep Mats Zuccarello
The New York Rangers told every team in the NHL that Mats Zuccarello was up for grabs two days before the deadline, and it looked like negotiations broke down between both sides. Zuccarello was slated to hit free agency, but the two sides hammered a deal out shortly after the acquisition of Yandle.
Zuccarello turns 28 on September 1, and his deal will keep him in Ranger blue until he turns 32. There is a chance he is moved before then, because his contract only has a no-trade clause for the 2016-17 season.
At the end of the day, a $4.5 million per year deal is an amazing bargain, because Zuccarello is a creative and talented winger who averages 50 points a season, and he was slated to be the top forward of the 2015 UFA market.
Trade details via NHL.com's trade tracker.