Following one of the more chaotic trade deadlines in franchise history, the Rangers are set to hit the ice in the first game of the post-Brady Skjei era. Chris Kreider is still on Broadway, and he’s got a shiny new contract extension that will keep him in the fold for the majority of his NHL career. Jesper Fast survived the deadline and will look to aid the Blueshirts in a frantic bid for a playoff spot, and the accident that Igor Shesterkin (and Pavel Buchnevich) got into will throw Henrik Lundqvist back into the fray during the stretch run.
The Islanders had an eventful afternoon yesterday, as they landed Jean-Gabriel Pageau from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a pair of draft picks, and then signed him to a six year, $30 million contract extension. The team was in negotiations to land Zach Parise from the Minnesota Wild, but that deal fell apart and wasn’t consummated prior the 3 P.M. deadline.
Player to Watch: Brendan Smith
Brady Skjei’s departure for Carolina created a vacancy on the left side of New York’s blue line, and Jeff Gorton made it clear the it’ll be up to Smith to fill the void. Originally signed to serve as Skjei’s partner on the team’s middle defensive pairing, Smith has spent the majority of this season as a 4th line forward. While the team could opt to recall a young defenseman from Hartford, look for Smith to prove himself capable of filling in Skjei’s shoes as a solid yet markedy overpaid LHD.
Enjoy the game!