The New York Rangers made their first move of the trade deadline season, acquiring forward Frank Vatrano from the Florida Panthers for a 2022 fourth round pick. The trade was first reported by Pierre LeBrun of TSN.
The 28-year-old Vatrano is due to become an Unrestricted Free Agent this summer and has 10 goals and 19 points in 49 games for the Panthers. He’s a natural left winger who has played the last four full seasons in Florida after a trade from the Bruins. He peaked with 24 goals in the 2018-19 season, following that with seasons of 16 and 18 goals. He can play the off wing as well.
He carries a cap hit of $2.53 million and this could be the precursor for the Panthers to make another move as they are clearing cap space. Before the deal they had $2.9 in deadline cap space.
Vatrano slots into a bottom six role on the Rangers and adds scoring with his 10 goals more than any Ranger in that group except Barclay Goodrow. He could also replace Dryden Hunt on the second line until Kaapo Kakko comes back from injury.
Vatrano is coming off a two goal game for Florida in which he scored the third period tying goal and then followed up with the overtime winner in a 3-2 victory over the Sharks. He turned 28 years old two days ago.
The Massachusetts native is 5’11”, 197 pounds so he is not a big player, but he does like to hit. He was second on the Panthers with 139 hits in 2018-19 and 102 hits the next season.
Vatrano was undrafted, signed by the Bruins in 2014 out of UMass where he was the Minutemen’s leading goal scorer
It’s a good trade for the Rangers considering the cost was a fourth rounder. Vatrano brings more depth offense to a team that needs it.