After the New York Rangers fell 3-1 to the Montreal Canadiens, Darren Dreger reported that Michael Grabner was traded to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a 2018 second-round pick and a prospect. Bob McKenzie added that the prospect is Yegor Rykov.
Hearing it will be a 2nd round pick and Igor Rykov. Stay tuned. https://t.co/z0fw51LVti— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 23, 2018
Trade call between NYR and NJD — first one ever, correct? — is happening shortly. NJ sends its own 2018 2nd-round pick and Igor Rykov to NYR for Michael Grabner.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 23, 2018
The Rangers officially announced the deal a little under an hour later.
This is the first time the Rangers and Devils have ever made a trade.
Grabner, along with Rick Nash, was held out of the lineup in Montreal as a precaution tonight.
The 30-year-old has been one of the best free agent wingers the Rangers have signed. His two year, $3.3 million contract, that carries a $1.65 million cap hit and is set to expire on July 1, has been an incredibly cost-effective investment.
A team only needs $363,710 in cap space to acquire Grabner at the deadline, while a team trading for Nash requires just over $1.7 million.
Grabner impressed with 40 points in 76 games last year; it was the second best point total of his career. His 27 goals ranked second on the Rangers, behind Chris Kreider’s 28. He was also a key source of secondary scoring in their 2017 playoff run; he tallied six points in 12 games.
While his scoring was appreciated last season, it seemed more likely that his inflated shooting percentage wasn’t sustainable… until he tallied another 25 goals with this year in 59 games (although it’s worth noting that seven of those goals have been scored on an empty net). His 25 goals lead the Rangers and his 21 points rank fourth.
What made him so valuable to the Rangers, and now to the Devils, isn’t just his scoring. It’s his defensive instincts, penalty killing abilities, and explosive speed.
There have been rumors that the pending unrestricted free agent could return to the Rangers; regardless of what the future holds, he certainly was an impact player while wearing a Rangers’ sweater this and last season.
Along with a second-round pick, the Rangers added a left-handed defenseman. Rykov was drafted in the fifth-round of the 2015 draft by the Devils (132nd overall). The 20-year-old currently plays for SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. He has 14 points in 51 games this season.