Irresponsible Rumormongering

Finding a realistic trade partner for Brendan Smith

When it comes to the trade deadline, the Rangers don’t have many tangible assets to trade from. Unlike past deadlines during the rebuild, their pending UFAs aren’t of much value. With Phil Di Giuseppe likely not getting much in a trade, it makes you wonder if a Brendan Smith trade makes more sense. He might have some actual value, given he’s been relatively serviceable this season. At least when he’s not paired with Libor Hajek.

Two irresponsible rumormongering posts in one day? How dare I?

When Smith is away from Hajek, he’s a serviceable third pair defender. He’s not going to win you games, but he shouldn’t cost you games either. He’s certainly overpaid on his current contract, but dealing Smith at 50% has some decent value. Plus there’s no need to protect him in the expansion draft, as a pending UFA.

Acquiring teams need a few things:

  1. Enough deadline cap space to take on 50% ($2.175 million)
  2. A need for a depth defenseman
  3. In a solid playoff position

Florida Panthers

It’s odd saying the Panthers are in the playoffs, but with the top-four in each division qualifying, the Panthers would basically need to lose every single game for the rest of the season to miss the postseason.

This is also a team that just lost Aaron Ekblad for the season with a gruesome leg injury. There is a spot on the blue line for someone who can hold their own, and they have the cap space.

It’s odd to see the Panthers as buyers, but in a wide open Central Division, the Panthers have a shot to make some noise. Is this the year they make a low key move like this?

Does a fourth round pick, the same return for Brendan Lemieux, get the job done?

Chicago Blackhawks

Another team in a surprising playoff position, the Hawks just acquired Vinnie Hinostroza to shore up their forwards. With basically no one on their blue line, this could be a fit as well. This does assume the Predators commit to their rumored rebuild though, as that would likely put the Hawks in fourth in the division.

Then again, the Hawks are rebuilding themselves. Do they sacrifice real assets for a miracle playoff run? There’s a case for meaningful games for players like Kirby Dach, Adam Boqvist, and Alex Debrincat. Is that experience in the playoffs, likely in a one and done, worth a mid or late round pick?

Given the way the NHL thinks, the Hawks might think so.

Edmonton Oilers

We are getting into murky waters here, since the North division has a quarantine restriction on any player coming in at the trade deadline. That said, Edmonton is missing Oscar Klefbom and Slater Koekkoek, This might be a stretch, given the cross-border issues and the lineup construction issues, but Edmonton has always been a team that makes some weird trades.

Smith would certainly be able to fill in on both sides of the blue line, He might also be a decent upgrade on Kris Russell or Tyson Barrie. But how much of an upgrade would he be, if at all?

There aren’t many teams that would make a trade for Brendan Smith, given his contract. Even at 50% retained, it’s an expensive proposition for teams bringing in limited revenue this season. But he does have on-ice hockey value. It’s still a possibility the Rangers trade him, even if they view themselves as playoff contenders.

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  • Serious question, what separates us from the Blackhawks? Tougher opposition within our division? On paper, I would give the edge to the Rangers. A lot of similarities between the two teams if you think about it.

    • If you’re referring to the playoffs a ton separates the two as the Blackhawks are tied for 4th in their division, which means they are right in the hunt. Rangers are 6th with no real shot at catching any of the top 4 (catching the top 3 is completely out of the question, and the Bruins are 5 points up with 2 games in hand and 6 games left against the Sabres. So that’s not realistically happening either).

  • I’m not sure Smith is an upgrade on the Oilers, certainly not over Barrie … but he should definitely have value to a playoff team for depth purposes. The fact that he can adequately fill in on the 4th line is nothing to sneeze at … he’s tough and can perform adequately in the playoff crucible. I would be happy with a 4th and a 3rd might not be out of the question. I know a lot of people don’t think much of a mid round draft choice, but with each extra choice you get another chance to draft a sleeper — and although people describe this as a week draft, it might be a draft that produces some surprises given how difficult it’s been to scout certain players.

  • Why do you bring up trades that make no sense. First it was Kreider , then Buch, now Smith. Leave the team to the front office. We do not need to change the defensemen as we are in a good place.

  • I think a playoff team sees some value in Smith. As a third pair guy who’s tough to play against and will get his nose dirty if he has to. He convinced Gorton after his performance in the 2016-2017 playoff run to sign him to 4 years. He was good.

    If the Rangers can get a second round pick by retaining 50% then fine. – Toughness and hard-nosed grit in a short series has a value. – If not, screw it, just keep him.

    • With guys like Lundkvist, Schneider, Robertson and Jones knocking on the door, keeping him doesn’t make a lot of sense — of course they won’t all be ready to transition into NHL players right away, but to bet on 1 or 2 of them playing next year isn’t a stretch at all. If you can get a 3rd or a 4th rounder, you do it. Can always try to sign him as a free agent next year on the cheap if you really really want to.

  • The Hartford Wolfpack beat Bridgeport again yesterday 5-2, Ty Ronning had 2 goals and one assist, Barron a goal and an assist and Reunanen an assist, Huska another win in goal.

  • With all due respect to your little chart, I’d say Hajek deserves a better partner than Smith. “Serviceable” is questionable. But, speaking about lost revenue and teams spending to bring Smith over: his actual base salary after bonus was paid this season is only 2.35M. That’s 2M less than cap hit and only 1.175m after 50% retention I don’t know how prorating works, but his money left to be paid and cap hit are less at trade deadline. He also has a 10 team trade list and if he doesn’t want to go anywhere, he’d be smart to list the 10 teams with least amount of cap space. Anywhere outside his list he’d need to agree to. Honestly, I doubt we find a taker

    • Excellent post RK, I agree on all points, if we do find a taker he won’t bring back much, but he’ll be gone after this season, so anything we could get for him would be a plus.
      On the flipside he has been a good playoff performer in the past, so if we do happen to make the playoffs, he might be worth keeping around.

  • Before focusing on Smith, not being a fancy stats guy, what is with Hajek? Is it lack of hockey sense, skating, stick use, lack of speed, puck handling or judgement?

    On to Smith, his contribution is not worth his contract, that is known. The unknown is what teams would give up talent to make the trade, unless Rangers eat some of his contract. Put aside his contract (easy to say), we know he’s serviceable playing defense and forward he plays an edge which the Rangers need, and his points total is close to Trouba’s. Point is, not so sure he should be traded.

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