The New York Rangers traded center Derick Brassard and a seventh-round pick in 2018 to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for center Mika Zibanejad and a second-round pick in 2018.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers GM Jeff Gorton was looking to shake up his roster following their quick early exit from the 2016 NHL playoffs. He also wanted to shed salary in order to comfortably re-sign RFAs Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes, especially after recently re-upping forward J.T. Miller and Dylan McIlrath.
By exchanging Brassard’s $5 million annual cap hit for Zibanejad’s $2.65 million, he’s now got roughly an additional $2.4 million to work with. That could be put toward re-signing Kreider and/or Hayes, or to perhaps add another player via trade or free agency.
Zibanejad, 23, has steadily improved over the last four seasons.He’s a versatile center who can also skate at right wing. While he must work on his consistency, he still has upside as a second-pairing center for the Blueshirts. He’s also a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer.