Hot Shots are our version of Hot Taeks. These are short, quick takes on topics important to the Lightning, the organization, or the NHL in general.
Yesterday, the New York Rangers sent Derick Brassard and a 2018 7th round pick to the Ottawa Senators for Mika Zabinejad and a 2018 2nd round pick.
This is certainly an interesting deal with some different viewpoints for either side.
For the Rangers…
The Rangers accomplish two things in one trade… get younger and clear some cap space. They still have restricted free agents Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes to get re-signed to new contracts. In the swap, they gain $2.375 million in cap space this season as well as picking up a 2nd round pick while only losing the negligible value of the 7th round pick.
Brassard is 28 and Zabinejad is 23. The down side is that Zabinejad will be a restricted free agent next summer and due a raise. That raise should end up being less than what Brassard was making however there’s always a risk that he has a break out year and commands more.
For the Senators…
Zabinejad is a promising young player that has hit the 20 goal plateau the past two seasons and 16 goals the previous season. This past season he had a career high 51 points. In Brassard, they get a more veteran forward presence and one that has a history of putting up points having hit the 40 point plateau in five of his six full seasons in the NHL.
While Brassard is a bit more expensive at $5 million on the salary cap, his actual salary is declining. He’ll be paid $5 million this season, and then $3.5 million each of the next two seasons. For a team like the Senators with an internal salary budget, this deal makes sense in that they’re getting the less expensive years of Brassard’s contract. This season also has a $2 million signing bonus. If that bonus has already been paid by the Rangers, then that’s even more money saved.
For the moment, I would label the Rangers the winner in this trade. They got younger with Zabinejad who can still flourish and produce close to the level of Brassard. They got a future asset in the 7th round pick. And they made some cap space for their needed contracts. Though that may get negated by whatever contract Zabinejad gets next summer. For the Senators, it seems like a bit of a parallel move by getting older with Brassard, spending more, and giving up a future asset. Perhaps though they see some leadership qualities in him that will assist the team even though he’s never worn a letter.
For the Lightning…
Well, I guess we’ll find out. It really will depend on how well both players fit in to their new teams’ situations. If Zabinejad ends up as the 3rd center for the Rangers, he’ll be one of the better 3rd centers in the league and give the Rangers better depth down the middle.