jeff gorton

It’s all trade deadline, all week. Yesterday we discussed the initial reaction to the Mats Zuccarello trade. This morning it was the reaction to the rest of the deadline. Now let’s get into grading those three big trades.

Mats Zuccarello to Dallas for a 2019 2nd and 2020 3rd

This was the trade that hurt the most because it was Zucc. Whenever you trade the heart and soul of the team, emotions will win out over reason, and that’s what happened in the early reactions. Then Gustav Nyquist, arguably better than Zucc, got traded for the exact same return. That helped settle things. In the end, it’s a pair of top-90 picks, which is good. If the conditions hit on the 2nd –Dallas gets to the WCF with Zucc playing 50% of games– then it becomes a 1st in 2019. The conditions on the 3rd –if Zucc re-signs– mean that pick would become a 1st in 2020. They likely won’t hit, but that doesn’t take away from the trade. If one hits, it’s great. If both hit, then it’s a coup. Logic Grade: B+. Emotion Grade: F-

Kevin Hayes to Winnipeg for Brendan Lemieux, 2019 1st, and conditional 2022 4th

The conditional 2022 4th is stupid and isn’t worth evaluation. In the end this is Hayes, the best C on the market outside of Matt Duchene, was going to get a good return. It wasn’t the haul we had hoped, but it’s still a B-prospect and a 1st. The 1st is the prize here, and it will probably be in the 22-27 range (where the Rangers drafted Nils Lundkvist last year, and Filip Chytil the year before). As for Lemieux, he’s a bottom-six forward who plays a hard-nosed game. He tore through the AHL in 2017-2018, but the focus was on his 170 PIMs, not his 19-24-43 line in 51 games. He has skill, and he has the type of game that –if kept in check and done right– New Yorkers will love. But that’s a big IF. I would have liked an additional mid-round pick here, but even Rick Nash didn’t get an additional mid-rounder. Grade: B-

Adam McQuaid to Columbus for 2019 4th, 2019 7th, and Julius Bergman

The final trade saw the Rangers get back their initial investment on McQuaid. The Rangers get their 4th and 7th round picks back, which is what they sent to Boston (the conditions on the 7th hit) for McQuaid in September. They move back in the round by about 15 picks though. Bergman is a Swedish defenseman. He’s a two-way guy that hasn’t sniffed the NHL yet, and he’s looking like he could be a depth AHL guy. There’s nothing wrong with that. Hartford needs all the help they can get. On the off chance he turns into a 7D or bottom pairing guy, then that’s gravy. Grade: B

The whole deadline gets a B from me. There were no “WOW” deals, but that’s expected at the deadline. The Blueshirts moved their rebuild forward with another five picks over the next two years. They also have a good amount of deadline bait for next year to build out the 2020 draft. The 2018 draft saw the Rangers pick six times in the first three rounds. This year they have another six picks in those three rounds. That’s how you jumpstart a rebuild.


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