The Rangers announced on Thursday night that Michael Grabner has been traded to the New Jersey Devils for a second round pick in 2018 and prospect Yegor Rykov.
Rykov, 20, was a fifth-round pick in 2016 by the Devils. He currently plays for St. Petersburg in the KHL where he has 9 assists in 47 games this season.
From the Rangers release:
- Rykov, 20, has skated in 51 games with SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) this season, registering two goals and 12 assists for 14 points, along with a plus-13 rating and 20 penalty minutes. He has established KHL career-highs in games played, goals, assists, points, and plus/minus rating this season. In addition, Rykov helped SKA St. Petersburg win the Gagarin Cup as KHL Champions during his rookie season in 2016-17, and he was selected as the KHL's Rookie of the Week during the Gagarin Cup Quarterfinals and during the Gagarin Cup Finals.
- The 6-3, 225-pounder helped Russia earn a bronze medal at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, registering one goal and six assists for seven points, along with a plus-seven rating in seven games. The Vidnoe, Russia, native was selected as one of the Top Three Players on his team, and he tied for first among all defensemen in assists in the tournament.
The Rangers now have eight draft picks in the 2018 Draft including five picks in the first three rounds.
Rykov is a teammate in the KHL of fellow Rangers prospect Igor Shesterkin.
This was the first ever trade between the Rangers and Devils.
Rykov, 20, is a puck moving defenseman with size but there are questions about whether he will come to North America. (ESPN)
Rykov has one year left on his KHL contract and Ryan Kennedy writes that with his potential, he would be worth the wait for the Rangers. (The Hockey News)
Kennedy says that Rykov is "great" with the puck, can be good on the PP but there are questions about his ability to defend. (The Hockey News)
Adam Rotter: With all the interest in Grabner, I felt that the Rangers might be able to get a first round pick for Grabner but this is pretty good value. The second round pick is a nice get and Yegor Rykov is someone that the Rangers must have seen a lot as they keep tabs on Igor Shesterkin. It's possible that the Rangers might have been able to get a bit more if they held onto Grabner for another day or two but this package worked for them and they took it. As for sending him to the Devils, Grabner gets to stay local which is nice for him but could backfire on the Rangers if he decides to stay there. Grabner has always liked the area, going back to his time with the Isles, and they may be willing to pay more to keep him. Either way, Grabner was never supposed to be the Rangers leading scorer or one of their top offensive players the past two years. He was signed to be a bottom-six forward with speed and a frustrating ability on breakaways but he turned into much more. With what he was supposed to be and what the Rangers got for him, it's a good move and hopefully the assets they got can help in the future.