New York Rangers not much left to show from Ryan McDonagh trade

new york rangers lineup libor hajek
Mar 6, 2022; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; New York Rangers defenseman Libor Hajek (25) skates away from Winnipeg Jets forward Paul Stasny (25) during the second period at Canada Life Centre. Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On February 26th, 2018 the New York Rangers traded captain Ryan McDonagh and JT Miller to the Tampa Bay Lightning. In exchange, they received Libor Hajek, Brett Howden, Vladislav Nemestnikov, 2018 1st round pick (Nils Lundkvist), and a conditional second round pick (Karl Henriksson).

Namestnikov was traded in 2019 to Ottawa for Nick Ebert, who the Rangers let walk, and a 4th round pick. That pick became forward Kalle Väisänen.

Last summer, the Rangers traded Howden to the Vegas Golden Knights for Nick DeSimone and a 4th round pick that became forward Noah Laba. DeSimone signed as a free agent with the Flames this July.

Monday night, Nils Lundkvist was sent packing to the Dallas Stars after requesting a trade out of the organization. In return, the Blueshirts received a conditional 1st round pick in 2023 and a 4th round pick in 2025.

Note: For a breakdown of the conditions click here.

New York Rangers still have Libor Hajek

libor hajek
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

There was no doubt once the Lightning won the Cup in 2020 who had the advantage in that trade. Ryan McDonagh was an instrumental player in back-to-back championships. Tampa was also foolish in trading J.T. Miller to the Canucks in 2019, but after two consecutive boat parades it’s been forgotten.

Still, there was hope that at least Lundkvist would become a staple on the Rangers blue-line for a decade. Many believed he could help run one of the power play units and be a consistent offensive threat from the back end. After yesterday’s trade, that’s no longer a possibility.

Now all the Rangers have to show for the McDonagh blockbuster is Libor Hajek.

Yes, the Rangers have some prospects in Henriksson, Väisänen, and Laba that could play some NHL games one day. But none are expected to have a significant impact at this time. While we need to see what those draft picks yield from the Lundkvist trade, they won’t be realized for at least three to four years.

So after all the dust has settled, the Rangers basically traded their former captain and a future 99 points scorer for a 7th defenseman.

Clearly not one of Jeff Gorton’s best moves a GM. Although obtaining Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox for basically a song well made up for it.

In the end, this trade was a huge flop for the franchise. Granted, a rebuild was just getting underway and moving McDonagh had a lot to do with cap flexibility. However, adding J.T. Miller was unnecessary and certainly qualifies this as one of the worst moves in the team’s history.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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