5 Reasons Why The Rangers Are The Clear Winners of the Trade Deadline

ryan mcdonagh

I have to admit that I was one of the many, many skeptics of the Rangers announced plan to end their quixotic push for playoff appearances and actually begin a full level rebuild. Nevertheless, I’ll have to begrudgingly give a lot of credit to Jeff Gorton, for not only stating his plan but actually executing on it.

Based on my Trade Machine model (highlighted here) the Rangers emerged as the clear winners of the trade deadline (although, TB has a pretty good argument too).

1. The Rangers did about as well as you can expect in terms of returns on their key assets.

Yes, I know the McDonagh trade didn’t return the king’s bounty many were hoping for (more on that later) but in terms of pure value the Rangers did quite well for Grabner, Nash and McDonagh.

Why? My newer version of the trade machine, (which uses Dom Luszczyszyn’s Game Score metric) views Spooner as a slightly worse, but much younger version of Rick Nash in terms of on-ice impact. With the first round pick and prospect included in that deal (and the possibility of Nash resigning), you basically got a free look at a couple of good potential players for nothing.

Since my model looks at both cap space and future prospect pipelines, the team added about a half a Connor McDavid worth of future on-ice value with these trades in particular.

2. Gorton did as well as he could with McDonagh trade

I was in the camp that Gorton should have held on to McDonagh if there were no good trades available, and while I was disappointed with the return, it’s easy to see why. There was no doubt Steve Yzerman was playing New York and Ottawa against each other, neither of those teams had much leverage to push back. Put it like this….would you rather have what the Rangers got back for McD, or preferred for Karlsson to get traded instead and the Rangers still holding the bag on a declining asset?Just in the few months since I wrote this article, McDonagh lost the equivalent of a 1st round pick in terms of trade value. It was only going to worse from there.

3. The J.T. Miller contract

I really like J.T. Miller and the Trade Machine does too. I view the Miller portion of the McDonagh trade as a 1 for 1 for Vlad Namestikov, who is very good, but not as good as Miller.

However, the Trade Machine views anything over 5 year/$24M contracts for Miller as an overpay and I worried that the Rangers would have been tempted to go above that. This removes that concern.

4. The tank is full effect

According to the Trade Machine, the team is about 11% worse in terms of on-ice talent, which obviously will help in their effort to improve their draft slot. In addition, it sends as clear of a message as possible to AV that playing the kids is the only way he can keep his job going forward.

5. The bounce back isn’t as far off as you think

If the Rangers get just an average return on their draft picks, don’t blow their cap space on pricey UFAs, and resign Spooner to a fair deal this offseason, the Trade Machine projects that the Rangers have increased their likelihood of making the playoffs by an average of 10% each season through 2022.