Just hours after it was reported that Elias Lindholm was at the top of the Rangers trade deadline list, potentially in a move including Kaapo Kakko, Vancouver swooped in and paid a hefty price for the center. And it appears the Canucks saved the Rangers from themselves, as Chris Drury dodged a bullet on Lindholm
The price was former 70-point winger Andrei Kuzmenko, Hunter Brzustewicz (#6 prospect, #2 defenseman), Joni Jurmo (Finnish defenseman), a 1st round pick, and a 4th round pick. For the Rangers, this is somewhat close to (Read: not exactly the same) Kaapo Kakko, Brett Berard or Matthew Robertson, Zac Jones, a 1st, and a 4th.
For those who really wanted Lindholm, of which I have been vocal against it, would you have been happy with that cost for a rental? The above may not be an exact 1-for-1, but it’s somewhat close to what we should have expected. The Rangers would have gutted their defense prospect depth and opened another RW hole for a guy who wouldn’t even get consistent powerplay time or top-six time.
Remember, role matters here. To be worth the cost, the Rangers would have needed to insert Lindholm over one of Mika Zibanejad or Vincent Trocheck at 5v5 (not happening) and over someone –likely Trocheck– on PP1 (also not happening). Role and usage matters when it comes to trade deadline cost. Sometimes, it’s not about getting the best player. It’s about getting the right player at the right cost.
What is rather interesting is the timing of all this. We got the Kakko rumors late Tuesday night. Then the Brooks rumor about Lindholm the following day. Finally, about 24 hours after the Kakko rumors broke and about 12 hours after the Lindholm rumor, he was dealt to Calgary.
Couldn’t possibly have been Calgary leaking the Kakko news to get Vancouver to up their offer, could it? Seems plausible, especially since most Rangers rumors come from outside the organization. Chris Drury is more cautious and tight lipped than Jeff Gorton, and the Rangers are notorious for keeping things close to the vest.
So now the Rangers, thankfully, move on from Lindholm. It’s for the better. If we learned anything from last year, it’s that big splashes rarely work. Get the right guys to fill the proper holes on the roster without creating new ones.