The Rangers have acquired RW Vladimir Tarasenko from the St. Louis Blues.
The official deal is:
- Rangers acquire: Vladimir Tarasenko and Niko Mikkola. St. Louis retains 50% of Tarasenko’s contract.
- St. Louis acquires: Conditional First Round Pick in 2023, conditional Fourth Round pick in 2024, Sammy Blais, Hunter Skinner
The conditions for draft picks are:
- 2023 First-Round Pick: St. Louis will get the later of the Rangers’ 2023 First Round Picks (their own pick or Dallas). If Dallas finishes with a Top-10 pick then the pick moves to 2024 and then St. Louis will get the later of that pick or the Rangers’ pick.
- 2024 4th Round-Pick: Becomes a 2024 Third-Round pick if the Rangers make the playoffs this season.
Adam Rotter: All in all, it’s four pieces, but the only one of real note is the first-round pick and Chris Drury did an excellent job in negotiating that it will be the later of the Rangers two picks. The conditional fourth-round pick isn’t nothing, but they could likely get another one of those. Hunter Skinner likely didn’t have a future with the organization and neither really did Sammy Blais.
The Rangers had the best intentions of Blais when they acquired him from St. Louis and he looked like he might be a valuable top-nine player, but then PK Subban took out his leg and Blais tore his ACL. With the exception of Monday’s game, Blais has struggled at the NHL level this season and as a pending UFA he was almost certainly not coming back.
So the Rangers keep a first-round pick, the better of the two picks, keep all of their top prospects and young players and add in two players that could help them make a big run.
Tarasenko fills a big need at RW in the top-six, he’s a proven scored, a proven playoff performer and he’ll be extra motivated to show well and score a big contract, from someone else, this summer. Mikkola takes Ben Harpur’s spot and Harpur takes Libor Hajek’s spot as the seventh defenseman. Mikkola is just a better version of Harpur, he’s not fancy, he’s not going to put up a lot of points, but he’ll be a really steady veteran and experienced presence on the third pair next to Braden Schneider.
It’s a pretty solid deal for the Rangers and addresses arguably their two biggest needs. The fact that they were able to do this without giving up anything big, other than the later of their two first-round picks, gives the Rangers flexibility. It’s unlikely they will make another big move at the deadline, unless they are clearing out some more salary, but keeping all their pieces gives them flexibility at the draft.