Brassard traded for Zibanejad, precursor to a bigger move?

Zibanejad scores (CBC)

Zibanejad scores (CBC)

For weeks leading up to the NHL draft and after it, the entire hockey world was expecting the Blueshirts to make a move that never happened. Then out of nowhere in the middle of July, Jeff Gorton makes a move that appears to come from left field.

The Obvious Reasons For the Deal

Mika Zibanejad and Derick Brassard are both centers. By making this move, the Rangers have gotten a player who is 5 years younger (23). He will instantly become their 2nd line center and gives them an additional right handed option on the PP, outside of Derek Stepan.

Financially, Zibanejad makes substantially less. His cap hit is only 2.625M versus Brassard’s 5M cap hit (a savings of about 2.4M). However, Zibanejad will be an RFA next season and his production level will probably have him net a deal equal to or greater than Brass’ 5M. The upgrade in picks is a nice sweetner.

Why Trade Brassard and not say, Stepan?

If this was a cost cutting move only, you can argue that maybe trading Derek Stepan who has a cap hit of 6.5M makes more sense. Stepan is 26, 2 years younger than Brassard and 3 years older than Zibanejad. So the argument the Rangers wanted to get younger also applies. The following chart shows just how comparable their points per 60 are.

Stepan, Brassard, Zibanejad its per 60

Stepan, Brassard, Zibanejad its per 60

When you also look at Stepan’s Full No Trade clause that kicks in next summer, there are more financial gains and roster flexibility to be had by moving him instead.

One key component for not trading Stepan that needs to be mentioned is his ability to kill penalties. Ultimately by moving Brassard, Jeff Gorton is likely signaling that any of those Stepan trade rumors are now moot. Derek Stepan isn’t going anywhere but is Gorton done?

What Does This Trade Tell Us?
brass zucc getty

brass zucc getty

By moving Brassard, you have to believe that opening up the additional cap space isn’t for overpaying Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes. Before today, the Rangers certainly had enough money to sign both.

What this is telling me, is that more moves or at least one more big trade is coming. If the Rangers use 7M to sign both Kreider and Hayes, plus send down Tanner Glass to the Wolfpack, that would give the Rangers 4.275M in free cap space to improve the team.

Now take into consideration that this means the Rangers could trade Rick Nash and actually take back salary. Is there a bigger move coming up front? On defense? Or both? The obvious need is to find a partner for Ryan McDonagh on the top pair.

Is this a signal that the Rangers will make a move for Shattenkirk? This would be a great move, unless the Rangers are required to send players like Chris Kreider the other way. Or is there a bigger deal with the Anaheim Ducks that could land Cam Fowler and maybe a forward of note?

Right now, this trade seems to create more questions than it does answers. Jeff Gorton’s comments at his presser did not really clarify too much.

In Conclusion

This move certainly gives the Rangers more room and flexibility to change the roster. They did lose however their best offensive player in the playoffs as he recorded 44 points in 59 games since the 2012/13 playoffs.

At the end of the day, Gorton may not want to discuss what he is working on, but this move screams something else is brewing.


  • I feel this trade was a great move for the rangers only time will tell if he will pan out for the rangers and if there are any trades left

  • I see the money that the rangers got for trading Brass can be used in this way resigning Kreider and Hayes or making a move for Kevin Shattenkirk on St.Louis

    • Shattenkirk is a free agent next year, so why should the Rangers give the blues draft picks, prospects and or Kreider for someone they can sign next yr. I’m tired of the Rangers trading their top prospect and 1st rd picks for puck moving defenseman they can’t resign. If they truly want Shattenkirk then wait till the offseason, bc he isn’t the missing piece for this yr, the are many missing pieces.

  • I like the trade and for the reasons stated, which leads me to the why are the Rangers are still hanging on to Girardi and Stall both of whom had salaries higher than Brassard.

    • Because Girardi and Staal both have No Movement Clauses…. They’re not going anywhere unless they agree to it, and since both are settled with their families in NY, I don’t see that happening. Girardi’s becomes a Limited No-Trade next season, more likely they’ll try to move him then.

      • No movement clause and the fact they aren’t worth the money they are getting paid. No team is willing to trade a box of rusty skate blades for Staal. GirardI is a broken player due to the punishment of playing 25+ mins and blocking a ton of shots while playing under Torts. The Rangers are stuck w them until their contracts expire.

  • tomorrow is arbitration day for Kreider lets see if a deal can be agreed on

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