Last night the Rangers and the Senators made a trade that was shocking if only because of the timing. Just two games into the season, New York sent winger Vlad Namestnikov to Ottawa in exchange for a 2021 4th round pick and Nick Ebert. As per usual, I have some thoughts.
1. The trade came out of left field. Neither team needed to maneuver the cap, as the Rangers had $1 million in space and the Senators were above the floor. However the trade does have cap implications for the Rangers, who were due to have bonus overages next season if they didn’t clear the space. Of course this assumes the rookies hit their bonus markers, but the extra $3.25 million in space ensures they won’t have overages next season, with another assumption that they hold steady with their cap space to date.
2. There are rumblings that Namestnikov requested the trade. Nothing has been confirmed, but logically it makes sense. Namestnikov is in a contract year and is in the bottom-six, impacting his offensive numbers and ability to land a bigger pay day. He also was only in the bottom-six with the Rangers, putting up solid numbers with Tampa before the trade. With Ottawa, he will be in the top-six, possibly the 1C replacing Colin White between Brady Tkachuk and Bobby Ryan. He gets his chance to get that pay day.
3. Ottawa only gave up, for all intents and purposes, a mid-2021 pick. Ebert was likely included because Ottawa had 49 contracts on the books already, and Namestnikov would make the max of 50, limiting their maneuverability at the trade deadline. By including Ebert, they stay at 49 and have a little bit more wiggle room.
4. Speaking of the trade deadline, Ottawa will get more than what they gave up for Namestnikov when they eventually flip him. That’s another bonus for Namestnikov, although one that was likely to play out with the Blueshirts as well.
5. Back to the Rangers, this also frees up a roster spot in the bottom-six. That will likely go to one of Greg McKegg or Micheal Haley, to play on the fourth line with Lias Andersson and Brendan Smith. That’s it. That’s the line.
6. In the long term, this opens up a roster spot for Filip Chytil, who has played well in his two games in Hartford so far, in the top-six if/when Ryan Strome loses that role. The 20-year-old will be back with the Rangers, and I think it will be before the end of the 2019 calendar year. Strome has done nothing to keep that spot, and Chytil worked well with Chris Kreider and Kaapo Kakko in a small sample size in the preseason. I think that’s your second line of the future.
7. The Ottawa Senators added salary when they didn’t need to in a trade. Go buy lottery tickets or something.