Irresponsible Rumormongering

Finding potential suitors for Brendan Smith

When the Rangers inked Brendan Smith to a four year deal two summers ago, it was generally received as a pretty solid move. Smith had a good stint in New York following his acquisition at the trade deadline, and parlayed that into the contract. Let’s just say that we, those who were good with the Smith signing, were wrong. For the I TOLD YOU SO crowd, I hope you were at least hoping he was going to be good.

It’s not just the rebuild that has put Smith’s future in question. Smith was demoted to the AHL last season, in his first year of the deal. He’s been in and out of the lineup for a while now. With another two years at $4.525 million remaining, the Rangers appear to be on the hook for the rest of the contract.

However let’s play Devil’s Advocate for a second. Let’s play along for this exercise, and go with the assumption that Smith can be a useful defenseman when on a team that isn’t as hopeless defensively as the Rangers. It’s a stretch, but stick with me here.

Finding a suitor for Smith is difficult. Even at 50% retained ($2.26 million), the Rangers have almost no leverage in any trade situation. But there could be value. Teams always need defense, and there are always trade scenarios. After all, the Rangers were able to deal Ryan Spooner.

Zack Kassian – Edmonton

When in doubt, always go to Peter Chiarelli. The Oilers are still a train wreck on the blue line, just like the Rangers, and Chiarelli seems to have no idea how to address it. Smith offers some of that veteran grit that he seems to love, and has the added benefit of playing both sides. At $2.26 million, perhaps Edmonton can look into another bad contract swap.

Zack Kassian is a potential match here. The Rangers may look to part ways with Cody McLeod at the end of the year, and Kassian seems to fit that role a little better (emphasis on a little). Kassian has two years left at $1.9 million remaining. That’s about a $350k difference in salaries for the remaining years on the deals. That’s certainly workable.

Mark Barberio – Colorado

Another team that may be in the market for defensemen, Colorado may be looking to make some moves to solidify their blue line before their playoff run. Targeting the Avs has another added benefit of a playoff team that probably shouldn’t be. They aren’t deep at all, and pretty flawed.

Mark Barberio is an interesting target. The 28 year old journeyman has two years left at $1.45 million, so there’s an $800k difference there. Barberio has been a healthy scratch a ton, and he gets about 50% of the games in Colorado. He’s on IR now, so maybe the Rangers can leverage that and sell that Smith is actually a healthy body?

Matt Hunwick – Buffalo

Buffalo took on the Hunwick contract to get Conor Sheary from Pittsburgh. Hunwick has two years left and $2.25 million left on his deal. That’s almost an even swap for both teams. Perhaps Buffalo gets a useable defenseman, and the Rangers get someone who played somewhat decently for them a few years ago. It’s a typical change of scenery trade.

What might work for the Rangers is that Hunwick has only played a few games this year. If Buffalo views Smith as an upgrade and someone that can play for a playoff team (potentially), then the Rangers might be able to get something else in the trade. Anything is possible, right?

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19 Comments

  1. Retaining salary to move Brenden Smith is a bad move. You can only retaining salary on three contracts. We’ve already retained to erase the worthless Ryan Spooner resigning. IIRC that counts until his current contract ends. That means going into next year you’d only be able to retain one contract on a potential move.

    The Smith resigning was a horrible choice when it was made and is even worse now. He isn’t going to get better, or “regain” anything. What you are seeing now is exactly what he was in Detroit and why Detroit, a team so desperate for NHL defensemen more so than us, wanted to move him. They found a sucker in us, he hit a few people, went on a PDO bender and cashed in.

    1. Right John, just bury him at Hartford and forget it, if you can’t trade him without retaining salary.

      I think the cap hit is $975K if he goes to Hartford so why retain anything in trade? Just waive him.

      1. On a buried one-way contract, his cap hit to the team would be reduced by $1.025M this season – and by $1.075M the next two seasons) – so he would still be +/-$3M of dead space for 2.5 seasons. that’s ouch.

      2. Smith? You would be lucky to get a box of Punch Cigars for him. Smith is playing in a fog..

  2. I think he will need to be a throw in on a bigger deal. Even with 50% retention. John B makes a good point about how many contracts we can retain.

    1. Honestly, guys the Smith contract sucks but wouldn’t it be better to try and move Marc Staal?? He’s having a decent season and would definitely garner some interest from a playoff bound GM. I know he has a NMC but at this point in his career maybe he’s willing to move on. Maybe he’d like to head West to play with his Brother in Minny. The GM (Fletcher I think) has a ship load of interesting young prospects and draft picks. I don’t think Gorton will have many more opportunities to not only move Staal but actually get something for him.
      Smith is not a long term option for the Rangers but he plays both sides and it’s not like Gorton has 6 promising young Dmen loosing time due to Smith.

      1. Maybe he’d like to head West to play with his Brother in Minny.

        We can only hope Permalink

  3. First, every defenceman at times, has defensive break downs and get caught running around in their own end. Smith is no exception. He is more mobile since working on his fitness last summer and is a good skater.
    In Detroit he was a second pair dman on a pretty good squad coach under Mike Babcock. I believe a playoff team might be willing to give up a mid round pick for Smitty to add some depth on their Blueline.

  4. I would love have Kassian to be apart of the NYR and there was a time that I would like to have seen Barbiero as a NYR. JG should send some depth parts or Skjei for Nikita Zadorov. I think he would be a solid #3 or #4 and could still develop into a top 2.

  5. I’m pretty much not in favor of bringing back any spare parts in a trade. A simple swap for a decent draft pick (say a 3rd) would suit me just fine — but, if the only option is the return of a player than I would say Kassian is bearable (as long as the plan is to not give McLeod another contract). I just don’t want to see a trade that retains the status quo effect of blocking kids like ADA or Hajek on d’, Andersson at forward …

  6. Trade him to anyone and for anything that will allow the Rangers NOT to retain salary.

    Who cares what the return is at that point?

    1. I think Smith will be with the Rangers the rest of the year. I think he will most likely be moved in the off season or at the deadline next year.

  7. I’m pretty much not in favor of bringing back any spare parts in a trade. A simple swap for a decent draft pick (say a 3rd) would suit me just fine — but, if the only option is the return of a player than I would say Kassian is bearable (as long as the plan is to not give McLeod another contract). I just don’t want to see a trade that retains the status quo effect of blocking kids like ADA or Hajek on d’, Andersson at forward …

  8. I know it’s been beaten up pretty well already but no mention today about Lias (yo-yo) Andersson???

    I hope this kid’s hockey make-up and skill level will allow him to get past this jerking around the FO has done to him. I’ve been reading all week about how important it was for his development be done at the NHL level. And now he goes down???

    It is one thing to make an error on whether the kid could benefit from additional development time rather than sitting around with the big club. But it is an error of egregious proportions to make this misjudgment knowing that his 10 game ELC limit was a factor.

    I mean if they are all OK with protecting him for the Seattle expansion because he went over the 10 game threshold then congrats and an atta boy is clearly in order.

    Seems to me though that when the FO starts to figure out their expansion protection strategy in two years then they will likely be kicking themselves for blowing this one.

    1. If this is a rebuild then why is this player’s playing time such a problem on a game by game basis.

      You know what? Actions speak louder than words.

    2. Nice job, Swarty!

      Happy New Year to all! May the New Year be filled with what you need.

  9. “The one thing with Hayes is they really tried to sign him, and the two of them just didn’t agree. Now, I don’t have a problem with that if you perceive your value one way and you disagree with the team, then there’s nothing wrong with going to open market. But it says to me if they couldn’t do it last summer, why are they going to be able to do it now. It doesn’t.” – Friedman
    That’s a pretty big statement from Friedman on Hayes and while he is playing better, I’m not sold that Hayes can be a 60 point center in this league. The salary he would likely demand of $6M+ doesn’t make sense for a 50 point player.

    “So I think Boston will be in on Hayes. I think Winnipeg will be in on Hayes. I think Colorado will be in on Hayes. And there’s probably more. I mean, he’s a center. There’s going to be a lot of people in on Hayes.” – Friedman

    I find this very interesting too say the least especially the third sentence. With all the talk yesterday about Zib being the guy they trade, here’s another insider, and his thought on the subject!!!!!!!!!!!

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