BLOCKBUSTER: McDONAGH, MILLER TO TAMPA
The Tampa Bay Lightning acquired defenseman Ryan McDonagh and forward J.T. Miller from the New York Rangers for forward Vladislav Namestnikov, center Brett Howden, defenseman Libor Hajek, a first-round draft pick in 2018 and a conditional second-round draft pick.
What does it give the Tampa Bay Lightning
This deal was clearly the biggest of the trade deadline period of 2018, and quite possibly the biggest of the entire season. In McDonagh, the Lightning have added a major piece to their blueline. He will slide into the No. 2 rearguard role behind Victor Hedman in Tampa Bay, while the versatile Miller should become an important, plug-and-play forward for the Lightning. Since head coach Jon Cooper likes to shake his lines up a lot, Miller will have added value (because he can play any forward position, and on any line). This trade helps Tampa Bay in their quest to make it out of the Eastern Conference once again.
What does it give the New York Rangers
The Blueshirts, who have admitted that they now face a rebuilding process, needed to receive a large haul in order to trade their captain (and a large haul they did receive). In addition to landing Tampa Bay's first rounder in 2018 (and possibly another first rounder in either 2019 or 2020 if the Bolts win the Stanley Cup in the next two springs), New York also received a quality, versatile playmaker in Namestnikov, a great two-way center of the future in Howden and a very good future blueliner in Hajek. This was probably a difficult trade for Rangers GM Jeff Gorton to make, but he did well to replenish his team.
McDonagh, Miller and Namestnikov should continue to have solid fantasy value with their new teams. There may be a shift in terms of roles on their new clubs, but the production is expected to remain largely the same. Howden should have a much easier time cracking New York's roster, possibly as soon as 2018-19, while Hajek should also be able to make it to the NHL more quickly as a Ranger (though not as quickly as Howden).