Thoughts following the Vlad Namestnikov trade

Analysis of the trade that sent Vlad Namestnikov to the Ottawa Senators

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.

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  • Vlad is a good hockey player who just couldn’t finish, at least here. DQ preferred Lemieux as 3rd line LW and cap space has value so the trade makes sense. McKegg better suited to 4th line than Vlad.

    Further indication that the McDonagh trade is going to wind up being one of the team’s worst ever.

      • Yup Howden and Hayek, two B level prospects, a #1 I think,
        for a near superstar Dman and Miller, who was traded for a #1 draft pick.

        • I think McD was an excellent defenseman, but nowhere near “superstar” status, and we traded him at just the right time. It would have cost a lot of money to re-sign him, and his play began to decline in TB.

    • Nonsense. McD & Miller for:
      * Howden
      * Hayak
      * 2018 #1 (Nils Lundqvist)
      * 2019 #2 (Karl Henrikkson)
      * Namestnikov (>2020 #4)

      • We moved an all-star defenseman and a strong winger for Howden (3C at best), Hayak (3D) and Swedes who will never play in the NHL. Oh yea, also (now) for a 4th round pick.

        We wuz robbed!

        • You are overrating them. It lacks consistency and McDonough is now looked at as a shutdown defenseman and not a natural point producer

          It’s really too bad we can’t move Staal or Hank.

          • That trade isn’t about what Mcdonagh was or is right now it was about what he will be in the last half of that contract.

    • McDonagh had to go, he wanted big a bucks contract on the downturn of his career. Remember? The Rangers weren’t going to do that crap anymore, and rightfully so.

      This trade was a good trade for the Rangers, cap space, which is always good, you never know, but more importantly opening of the roster spot.

      Nice job, Dave!

  • Here’s a thought, how about they bring up Kravs as the 2C, giving the kid a reason to bust his hump for the organization?????????

    I like this move, even with us taking back some $750K salary back. We had to replace Vlad, or Strome with someone cheaper, and have some flexibility to make roster moves now, and down the road. It probably will be Chytil who gets recalled, but if he doesn’t show some life, and nuts, he could get replaced by Kravs down the path!!!!!!!!!

    • Chytil was sent down to learn how to be an effective centerman. They’re basically holding the 2C for him. That’s a pretty good deal for a young kid who blew it in training camp. All he needs to do is show he can play as a 1C in Hartford.

      Teenage Russians don’t and shouldn’t be bribed to play hard. Kratsov is not ready for the NHL and shouldn’t expect a free pass or sulk. Few players his age go straight to the NHL. Buch went thru the same thing. He needs to learn both how hard he needs to play to make it here and to learn how to play here. Shesty and Rykov both had no issue playing their first year in North America at Hartford and they’re both older and more experienced than Kratsov. Tough love in order here.

  • Now banking $23.3k/day in cap credits.

    By the trade deadline that will be an extra $3mm. Add in what a player has earned and the team could take on a 1st line rental quite easily. Plug that guy into the 2C spot if Chytil still not ready.

  • #7 in the post is what really astounds me.

    Why would Ottawa make this trade? As was stated they are already above the floor, they are taking on over $3mill in salary and giving up a draft pick. All for a guy who is a UFA after the season and quite mediocre in talent. Totally confounding. Am I missing something?

    If I was Gorton, I might’ve GIVEN Ottawa a 4th rounder to do this deal.

    • Melnyk is under a lot of pressure to field a competitive team, and not pinch pennies. They have no centers – they’re talking about using Vlad as a 1C!

      Agree that Gorton made something out of nothing. Kinda like the Spooner deal last year.

      • Agreed, well played by Gorton and co – I was hoping Names would turn the corner – hopefully a new venue will do him good. I don’t think Ebert will stay with the Wolfpack – his play didn’t back up attitude issues in the past. I’m glad it opens up a spot for McKegg, too – sure, the dude is not going to win fantasy hockey trophies but he is a strong face-off guy and has some size.

    • Would assume that they are banking on the fact that they might be able to get more than a 4th for him at the trade deadline.

  • This deal makes a lot of sense for the NYR. We needed to bank some CAP dollars, and were not getting enough out of Names as a 3rd line center. Probably no call-ups for a little while, with the extra time off and Hartford set to play on Saturday.

    Look for Strome to continue as the 2C while Chytil gets a few more games under his belt – I suspect at least 5 more games until a call up.

    McKegg and Haley can now get some reps – adding some more body contact on the 3rd or 4th lines.

    I suspect a few days of practice for the second line will allow Strome to better understand his role as distributor – whether he does it during the game is another story.

    Gorton still has some magic with this move. Now he can see what Krieder gives him and will have a few dollars to play with. – Don’t be surprised if another move is made in the next 3 weeks either.

  • I don’t see another imminent move, this is still a rebuild. They needed the roster spot for McKegg and Haley now and Chytil/Kratsov later in season.

    I think the next big decision will be to trade or sign Kreider.

  • I look at this very differently. The current Ranger forward corps is young and they need to learn how a unit plays and not simply get playing time. With the right attitude, Namestnikov would have been a plus on this team, not the minus everyone assumes. Unfortunately, he was certainly gone after this season and likely in February so he had no real reason for a commitment to the Rangers (can’t blame him). With the wrong attitude, he would only poison the atmosphere and interfere with the proper acclimatization of the kids. If he wanted to move on now (as Dave suggests), moving him now was imperative for the best interests of the organization. We simply should not interfere with the development process in order to get more later.

    I suspect the Rangers actually wanted Ebert (likely misguided but maybe not). A team often needs ten defensemen in a season because of injuries, etc. Ryan Lindgren appears to be a good eighth defenseman at this time, but seriously, who are 9 and 10. Keane is very young, Day spent part of last year in Maine, and Raddysh (really?). When Ottawa signed Ebert in June, they thought he could maybe play in the NHL. Of course, they may have decided they were wrong and were eager to move on and Ebert did clear waivers, but just maybe he is a plus in this transaction.

    As for the retained salary, we always assumed the Rangers would use one of their two retentions on Names and this is less than I would have expected.

    • Ebert isn’t a consideration at all. He’s purely an AHL player, who was thrown in so Ottawa could keep one roster slot open in case they need an emergency call up.

      • This is the party line, but it is not true. Nick Ebert is a singular player. He is the third highest player on the Wolfpack squad, making $300K. Only Beleskey and Nieves on one way contracts make more. In fact, Danny O’Regan is the only other player on the team making even half what Ebert is making. Guys like Chityl and Lindgren get 70K.

        Last year, Ebert was a star in Sweden and Ottawa signed him with an eye toward him making the team this year. Obviously it did not work out, but it seems quite plausible that the Rangers want to give him a look – they do like Swedish players.

        From Ottawa’s perspective, this may also be a salary dump – and probably is. But what is absolutely clear is that if the Rangers were simply taking a player from the Ottawa roster to give them a free slot, they would hardly choose the costliest player on the AHL roster.

        One huge advantage the Rangers have over Ottawa – paying a minor leaguer $300K is basically meaningless to NY whereas it is real money to Ottawa. This also may have helped the Rangers get off with less retained salary.

        I am not saying Ottawa did not want to keep a roster. slot free – just saying is not the whole story.

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