The New York Rangers took advantage of a seller's market and, much like last year's trade deadline, the team added numerous picks and a couple of prospects to a roster that had been void of such in recent years.
The Blueshirts made three trades over the last 72 hours and said goodbye to Adam McQuaid, Kevin Hayes and fan favorite Mats Zuccarello. As much as it may sting for the fanbase to lose these players, it is necessary for a franchise in the middle of a rebuild. In order to build it back up, it truly begins by ripping it down.
On Saturday, the Rangers dealt Zuccarello to the Dallas Stars for a conditional second-round pick in 2019 and a conditional third-round selection in 2020. Zuccarello played only two periods with the Stars before he was lost to an upper-body injury and is expected to miss at least a month.
In the hours leading up to the 3 p.m. trade deadline Monday, the team dealt Hayes to Winnipeg for Brendan Lemieux and the Jets' first-round pick and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2019.
Russ Cohen of Sportsology and Sirius XM's Hockey prospect radio broke down what Ranger fans can expect from the son of former NHL pest Claude Lemieux.
"When you get a player like Brendan Lemieux, your intention is to use him on the third or fourth line at left wing," Cohen said. "He skates well enough for the NHL. He checks well. He mixes it up after the play. He does set up screens in the crease on the power play if he can make it on the second power play unit for the Rangers.
"He has a winning attitude. He can deflect pucks like his dad. He does need to reel in his chippiness. Sometimes he is a loose cannon. He is very strong, not just during a fight, but he's strong on his skates. He may be able to reach 15 goals a season in the NHL."
Finally, the team moved McQuaid, a defensman, to the Blue Jackets for defenseman Julius Bergman, a 2019 fourth-round pick and a 2019 seventh-round pick.
"Julius Bergman has been on a sojourn," Cohen said. "He's just 23 and he's still a 6-1 defenseman with professional experience. He has good vision, good size, but don't expect much offense. I never thought there was a lot there. He's a good passer, can play on the [penalty kill] and he's a right-handed shot. This was a no-brainer in a deal for a UFA defenseman, plus you got back draft picks."
The Rangers did not go into the deadline with a big trade chip. Therefore, the organization did a solid job of stockpiling picks and prospects. Now, they have a ton of flexibility heading into this year's draft in Vancouver, where they use their numerous picks to simply draft talent or combine some of those picks to move up and grab a player they have highly rated on their draft board.