Vladimir Tarasenko and Niko Mikkola
This was the trade that came first so it only feels right that we start with what came first. This deal with St Louis was not entirely expected as trades in this sport rarely are. However, most people recognized the value of this deal as soon as they saw it. It addressed needs in the top six among the forwards, and it strengthened the blueline to no end with one trade. It seemed to remove every weakness the roster had.
First, start with the new Rangers. Vladimir Tarasenko came across as someone who reportedly wanted out of St Louis yesterday due to an incompetence to help him with the ongoing injury issues Tarasenko had sustained during his time in the midwest. Upon arriving in New York, he and long-time friend Artemi Panarin seemed instantly to be able to connect and get along and it helped Tarasenko settle down in the Big Apple.
As for Niko Mikkola, a lot of people thought the back end was an issue and that they needed to get tougher. So, Chris Drury went out to get a defenseman who is actually really solid with his positioning and with his ability to help out in the defensive zone, and even provide a little when the puck is in the attacking zone. To go along with the skill, he is bigger than the team refrigerator. It was everything the Rangers needed.
What departed? Well, picks for one. One of the two 2023 1st round picks that the Rangers possess will end up in St Louis as a result of this trade. It is whichever pick between the Rangers’ and the Stars’ is later in the draft. There is also a 2024 4th rounder that will become a 3rd rounder as soon as the Rangers punch their playoff ticket this year.
Hunter Skinner also went out the door as a bright young prospect. This isn’t the most painful of losses, but it is never fun to see young kids that your favorite team has drafted and developed for years be dealt away. It’s understandable why they did it, but it’s still not easy. Sammy Blais also went the other way. Blais was a non-factor in New York and has decided to turn into Connor McDavid himself back in St Louis.
This was a pretty fair value trade, and I don’t think that this is going to change moving forward. Unless the Blues get two steals in the draft, a deep playoff run for the Rangers will make this an easy victory moving forward. Picking up an ideal defenseman and a forward that has been one of the most feared snipers in the league for almost a decade for that is a pretty solid value, even if the sniper is now declining.