The NHL trade deadline just passed on Monday and the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and New York Islanders all made some tough decisions and traded some players to potentially improve their rosters.
The New York Rangers picked up defensemen Keith Yandle and Chris Summers from the Arizona Coyotes, minor-league forward Carl Klingberg from the Winnipeg Jets and two-way forward James Sheppard from San Jose.
The most significant acquisition for the Rangers is Yandle, whose offensive capability from the blue line gives the Rangers arguably the best top six defensive group in the NHL. Yandle had four goals and 37 assists in 63 games with the Coyotes this season.
The Rangers paid a hefty price, as they parted ways with reliable defenseman John Moore, top prospect Anthony Duclair, who was a huge part of the Canada team that won the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in December and a first round draft pick in 2016.
Arizona also retained part of Yandle’s salary in the trade, allowing the Rangers to re-sign Mats Zuccarello to a four-year $18 million contract extension. Prior to the trade with Arizona, there were rumors about the Rangers trading Zuccarello.
“The Rangers holding onto Zuccarello is the best decision they could've made, and picking up Keith Yandle will be a great addition to an already phenomenal defensive line,” said Junior Tyler Hogan.
Fans believe New York Rangers general manager Glen Sather wants to rebuild the team for June hockey. The New York Rangers are one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference and trying to make up a five game loss in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.
“It's not easy. It takes a lot of things that have to work right to get there. Yeah, it was nice to get there. I hope we can do that again. But there's a lot of teams that are going to think the same things that we're thinking,” said Sather according to the New York Daily News.
The New York Rangers have their sights on the Stanley Cup and have increased their chances of redeeming themselves by making some changes.
The New Jersey Devils had to say goodbye to Jaromir Jagr and Marek Zidlicky at the deadline. Jagr went to the Florida Panthers and Zidlicky was traded to the Detroit Red Wings. The Devils are trying to clean house and rebuild their team. In exchange for Jagr and Zidlicky, the Devils got a second-round and two conditional third-round picks. The New Jersey Devils have several pending free agents that they were trying to shop, but could not manage to get any teams interested in a deal.
“Trading away Jagr was a decent price for the draft picks. However, I don’t see them making the playoffs,” said junior Garret De Block.
The Devils are seven points out of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, but would have to pass at least three teams in the standings to make the playoffs. New Jersey is 27-27-10 on the season.
The New York Islanders acquired Michal Neuvirth, Tyler Kennedy, Dustin Jeffrey and Mark Louis and parted ways with Chad Johnson, Cory Conacher, David Leggio and two third-round picks. The Islanders improved their offense and got a goalie alternative to help make their team stronger in Neuvirth.
“I think there is a lot of good chemistry in that locker room and we didn’t want to deplete too many players out of there,” said Islanders’ general manager Garth Snow, according to the New York Post. “We made the moves we made today, and we’re happy with where we stand.”