Nonetheless, the Rangers believe they have the roster necessary to make a run in the spring, a roster that saw a new name enter its lineup in last night’s win over the Boston Bruins, and two others stashed in AHL Hartford.
The active roster name came from Detroit’s first rebuild in the last quarter century, as the Rangers welcome in D Brendan Smith in exchange for a second round pick in the 2018 draft and a third round pick in this year’s upcoming draft. Detroit’s first round selection (27th overall) in the 2007 draft, Smith has 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) on the season, including two on the power play. Smith’s career best year came in the 2013-14 season, tallying 19 points (5 goals, 14 assists). With his arrival to New York, Smith reunites with Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh, his teammates at the University of Wisconsin.
Another move the Rangers made was trading longtime Hartford D Mat Bodie to Buffalo. Bodie had spent three years with the Wolf Pack but did appear in any NHL games. In exchange, the Sabres sent over center Daniel Catenacci. A third round pick (77th overall) of the Sabres in 2011, Catenacci spent most of his time with AHL Rochester, but played 11 games in the NHL last season. He scored a goal in his Hartford debut last on Wednesday, a 4-3 win over Springfield.
Finally, the Rangers did a deal with a Western Conference contender, sending Justin Fontaine, scorer of 30 points in 50 games with Hartford, over to Edmonton for Taylor Beck. A third round pick (70th overall) of Nashville in 2009, Beck has spent time in the Islanders organization. Beck has played only three games in the NHL this season, but has made a name for himself in the AHL, scoring 50 points in 40 games with Bakersfield.
It can be argued that the Rangers’ best move was one they didn’t make. For the first time since 2012, the Rangers will be keeping their first round pick in the upcoming draft.