Rangers, Senators Swap Centers, Picks
The Ottawa Senators have acquired Derick Brassard and a 2018 seventh-round pick from the New York Rangers in exchange for Mika Zibanejad and a 2018 second-round pick.
This trade seem to catch everyone out of the blue, as neither Derick Brassard nor Mika Zibanejad had been frequently discussed in trade rumors. This is essentially a swap of top-6 level centers who posted very similar numbers last season.
Zibanejad: 81 GP, 21 G, 30 A, 51 P, 184 SOG, 17:46 ATOI
Brassard: 80 GP, 27 G, 31 A, 58 P, 182 SOG, 17:53 ATOI
Why then, would teams swap players at the same position? Age is one factor, as Brassard is 28 and Zibanejad is five years younger at 23. Brassard also carries a higher cap hit at $5 million compared to Zibanejad at just $2.63 million. Zibanejad will also be an RFA next summer, so it’s possible that the internal cap-driven Senators didn’t want to give him a raise.
The Rangers made this move to clear cap space and pick up a coveted second-round pick, but why would the Senators want to add cap space then? And why would the Senators want to lose that pick and get five years older at a position? Brassard did play a partial season of junior hockey under new Sens' coach Guy Boucher.
From a fantasy perspective, it’s not clear how this will shake out. Brassard could be as high as a number one center or as low as a number three center on the Senators. Jean-Gabriel Pageau formed amazing chemistry with Mark Stone last season – would the Sens try Brassard with Stone instead? Or maybe Mike Hoffman? Bobby Ryan is a right-handed shot. Perhaps, as one commenter suggests below, the Senators wanted to match him up with a lefty centerman?
As for the Rangers, maybe they plan to move Zibanejad to the wing, where he has played in the past. If that’s the case, Derek Stepan, J.T. Miller, and Oscar Lindberg stand to gain the most. With 22 goals and 43 points last season, Miller appears ready to handle a top 6 role. But if the Rangers use Zibanejad as a center, then it’s pretty well status quo.
Fantasy players this helps, in order:
Fantasy players this hurts, in order:
Fantasy owners are discussing this trade now – give your take right here!
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