The Trade with St Louis
This trade looked fine when it was made, and it doesn’t even look particularly bad now. New York used one of its 1st round picks to make this deal happen and it became clear that the Blueshirts wanted to be aggressive when they made this deal. Bo Horvat had just come off the trade bait boards after he was dealt to the New York Islanders. Drury and company decided they had to do something, and so they did.
Vladimir Tarasenko came into the organization and immediately looked like the Rangers had fixed the glaring issue in their top six. That right-wing needed help and when the Russian winger was added to the Rangers ranks, the Blueshirts looked like they were going to be able to go deep. Unfortunately, hindsight is twenty-twenty and we know that it was not the case but the deal made a ton of sense.
Tarasenko had 4 points in the playoffs, including 3 goals. You can say that most of the Rangers’ forward core didn’t turn up, but Tarasenko scored enough to justify the addition in my opinion. Whether you believe the issue was coaching, effort, or a combination of things, Tarasenko came very much as advertised and he was a big addition to this Rangers roster. Not to mention, he wasn’t the only piece in this deal.
Niko Mikkola came across and the Finnish defenseman was one of the most underrated players on the roster for my money. He never did anything special but for a third-pairing defenseman, that is more than fine. He keeps the lines fresh and proved he can play major minutes when K’Andre Miller was ejected and the Rangers couldn’t play Braden Schnieder due to the risk of injury to make another deal happen.
When Ryan Lindgren was hurt and unable to play for the final quarter of the season, Niko Mikkola slotted onto that top pairing and looked right at home. He is a fine skater and proved that he could rover around the ice well enough and make it clear he could fill in and play well enough to not notice the difference. He is a strong, big, physical defenseman and he was a great addition. A nice spot for the pro-scouting team to nab him.
In terms of what they gave up, Dallas’ first round is the big trade bait piece. With Dallas making it to round two, it’s going to be after the Rangers pick. It was a condition on the deal that the Blues received the later of the two picks the Rangers owned in the draft and we know that after the only Ranger to turn up in game 7 was Shesterkin. Losing Blais and Skinner hurt, but neither will bite the Blueshirts in all likelihood.