By Jack Fenty
A trade was coming; Thursday morning the Rangers announced that Rick Nash and Michael Grabner were not going to play in the game that night against the Canadiens. Just a hour after the Devils lost to the Wild 4-2, Ray Shero, the GM of the Devils, pulled the trigger to acquire Grabner. So, the Devils receive Michael Grabner; who is 30 years old and is a UFA at the end of this season. Grabner has 25 goals and six assists in 59 games so far this year. On the other hand, the Rangers received a 2018 second round pick from the Devils and Yegor Rykov, a fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft, who is currently playing in the KHL. Rykov was also the captain of Team Russia in the World Juniors in 2014.
This is a great trade for both clubs. Rivals helping rivals? This is the first trade EVER between the Rangers and Devils. As an Islanders fan this is a lose-lose. (We never seem to win).
Grabner makes one of the fastest teams in the league even faster with this trade. It is hard to think of many teams that can out-skate the Devils at this point. Grabner will not only add more speed to this lineup but will help on the Devils penalty kill which is the 14th best in the league. Also, I think the Devils have a great chance in signing Grabner at the end of the season; most-likely a four-year deal. I think that is one of the main reasons Shero made this trade; the Devils this trade-deadline are not looking for rental players, they are looking for players who can help now and in the future.
The return the Rangers got for Grabner was what was expected. If the Devils make the playoffs but have a short stay the pick will be in the 40-50’s range in the draft for the Rangers. If the Devils miss the playoffs the pick will be in the high 30’s. With that being said there is value in that pick. Regarding Rykov, the Rangers add another young defenseman to their organization, which never hurts.
Overall, the Devils receive a player who will help them as they enter the playoffs and the Rangers receive two parts to the rebuild.
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