Today marks the seven-year anniversary since the New York Rangers acquired Mika Zibanejad from the Ottawa Senators for Derick Brassard in 2016. To celebrate, we look back on why the trade was made and how the players have faired since then.
New York Rangers fans should smile today. As I write this, it’s July 18. It marks seven years since the Rangers fleeced the Ottawa Senators for Mika Zibanejad in 2016. The trade saw Derick Brassard head to Ottawa and Zibanejad come to Broadway. The Senators sent Zibanejad a 2018 second-round pick(Jonatan Berggren) to the New York Rangers for Brassard and a 2018 seventh-round pick(Luke Loheit).
Looking back, it’s clear that the Rangers got the better end of the deal from the get-go. Zibanejad turned into a star forward, while Brassard struggled during his time with the Senators. It makes you wonder why this trade happened in the first place, right?
A look at the Zibanejad-Brassard trade 7 years later: Why it happened?
Before the trade, Zibanejad,22, showed promise, with two consecutive 20-goal seasons and a career-high in points. He started showing why Ottawa selected him sixth overall in the 2011 NHL Draft.
Meanwhile, there was a lot to like about Brassard. Drafted sixth overall in 2006 by the Columbus Blue Jackets, he made his NHL debut in 2008 and spent five years there before being traded to New York with Marian Gaborik in 2013. Through his 254 games as a Ranger, he scored 174 points, including one 60-point season in 2014-15. But that season, his 14.84 shooting % was three points higher than his career average, and he hasn’t amassed that mark since.
The trade between the Rangers and Senators was based on financial considerations, as both teams dealt with salary cap issues. Zibanejad had been on a cheap contract worth $2.625 million per season, which was set to expire after the 2016-17 season. His final year on the contract was worth $3.25 million in salary, and he was due for a significant raise.
In contrast, Brassard had a higher cap hit of $5 million, but his contract was frontloaded, and he was only owed $3.5 million during the last two seasons. Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton liked Zibanejad’s small $2.625-million cap hit, as he still had to pay Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes.
By trading Brassard, he freed up cap space, which he used to retain both players on Broadway. Initially, it looked like a good cap dump move. Yet, in hindsight, it turned into more than that.