Thoughts following the Howden and Goodrow trades

The roster freeze deadline may have been 3pm yesterday, but most of the trades were announced well after 3pm. Naturally, the Rangers fell into that boat as well, with a pair of trades being announced after the deadline. The first trade was acquiring the rights to Barclay Goodrow from Tampa for a 7th round pick. The second trade was sending Brett Howden to Vegas for a 4th round pick and Nick DeSimone. As per usual, I have some thoughts.

1. First on Goodrow, the big trade. This is a nothing trade for the Rangers. They gave away a 7th rounder in next year’s draft, which is an easy price to pay for about a week to negotiate with Goodrow to get him under contract. However if you are expecting a deal to be made, it won’t be official until after the expansion draft. There’s a roster freeze in place. We may hear they’ve agreed to terms, but we won’t have pen to paper until after Wednesday. This is also the toughness acquisition we’ve heard so much about.

2. The Lightning used Goodrow primarily as a center, I believe, during their Cup run. This could be misleading as Goodrow took a good amount of faceoffs. There’s a chance he took faceoffs and then moved to wing. I honestly didn’t watch the Bolts enough to take notes. That said, he is a career 52% faceoff guy, which bodes well for the Rangers. They were the worst faceoff team in the league this year. Faceofs are largely overrated in terms of importance over the course of 82 games, but the situational faceoff still matters.

3. Expectations for Goodrow should be very clear from the get-go. He’s a defensive center/wing. His career high in points is 8-18-26 with SJ/TBL. He is not going to be a guy who puts the puck in the net. The Rangers have a ton of those guys though. Goodrow is a solid defensive forward who excels in his own zone and on the penalty kill. If the only move the Rangers make is going from Howden to Goodrow, it’s a win for the offseason. He’s a huge upgrade on the fourth line, assuming the Rangers see him as a center. A fourth line consisting of a combination of Goodrow, Blackwell, Gauthier, Rooney, and Di Giuseppe is the fourth line you want.

4. Per Evolving-Hockey, Goodrow is projected to get $3.15 million over four years. Rumors have stated teams are willing to give him six years. I don’t think Drury will do that term for Goodrow, who is a bottom-six player. You don’t do term on bottom-six players. Four years is the longest I’d go, and I get the impression Drury has the same level of cut off. Even if the Rangers don’t sign him, it cost them next to nothing to get him. It was worth the shot.

5. A banger from Brandon Cohen: “It’s ironic that the Rangers landed Barclay Goodrow when the Barclay’s Center didn’t have one good row.”

6. As for Howden, we knew a trade was coming with the contracts doled out to him and Gauthier in advance of the expansion draft. The fact that the Rangers actually got a 4th round pick in 2022 is that much better. The Howden trade is a solid trade for Chris Drury, who did more addition by subtraction than anything else here. A throw at the dart board was worth it.

7. Nick DeSimone is 27 with no NHL games. He’s also a UFA. I’m a little surprised by his inclusion, now that I’ve had some time to research a bit on this trade. The real prize is the 4th round pick. To address the elephant in the room: Yes, I know the McDonagh trade looms large here. But it was a while ago. Howden wasn’t good. The Rangers got a dart throw in the Howden trade, addition by subtracting him from the roster, and we fans get peace of mind not having to discuss him 24/7.

8. Yes, this still likely means the Rangers protect Libor Hajek in expansion.

9. So far, so good for Drury as Rangers GM. He nailed this step. Let’s see where he goes from here.

10. For those that follow on social media, an explanation is required. I had somewhere to be at 4pm, and by 3:40 nothing had been announced. I took a chance that the Rangers were going to stand pat. I was wrong. Then I had to write the trade post from a random parking lot. It happens. I take the L there. Sorry about that.

11. Lucky number 11. The “trade that didn’t happen.” Don’t read too much into this, as it only became a big deal on social media because egos got too big. There were talks about a Pavel Buchnevich/Bo Horvat swap. Vancouver said no, end of story. Is it dead? Probably. But it’s Jim Benning, so you never know.