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The Detroit Red Wings have traded defenseman Brendan Smith to the New York Rangers in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2018 draft and a third-round pick in the 2017 draft.
The 28-year-old Smith is a pending unrestricted free agent who holds a salary cap hit of $2.75 million. He currently has five points in 33 games this season and has averaged 18:44 of ice-time per-contest. Smith also holds a plus-2.18 5-on-5 adjusted CF% rel. He has played a total of 291 NHL games and notched 67 points.
The Rangers have been hit by injuries recently on their blue line and the addition of Smith should add to their depth. Kevin Klein has missed the last three games due to back spasms and teammate Dan Girardi will miss the next two weeks because of an ankle injury he suffered earlier in the year.
The hyper competitive Metropolitan Division also has found itself in a bit of an arms race – especially with the Washington Capitals’ acquisition of Kevin Shattenkirk.
“There’s no doubt they’ve picked up a good defenseman,” New York coach Alain Vigneault said of Shattenkirk’s joining the Capitals according to Newsday. “Like I’ve mentioned a few times lately, I like our team, I like our group, like the way we’re playing. We’re going to have an opportunity tonight to measure ourselves against a team that was No. 1 (in the regular season) last year.”
Trading Smith is the first of a few ‘seller-type’ moves Detroit could make at the deadline. The Red Wings currently are out of the playoff race and have a few other players on their roster – such as forwards Thomas Vanek, Steve Ott and Drew Miller – who are pending UFAs that could draw some interest.
“We’re not going to be a buyer. We’re not going to trade future assets to try to bring in somebody to make us a little better,” Holland said in early February. “We’re either going to stand pat or we’re going to see if teams have interest in some of our players. That’s what I’ll work the phone to do here over the next three to four weeks.”
On the Milbury scale we give this move …
ONE MILBURY: The price the Rangers paid for Smith was a little steep, but they needed an experienced possession-driving defenseman for their playoff push. Detroit, meanwhile, got some usable future assets for a guy they probably weren’t going to re-sign.
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