The Florida Panthers have traded forward Frank Vatrano to the New York Rangers in exchange for a 2022 fourth-round pick, per Pierre LeBrun. Because the Rangers own two fourth-round picks this season, their own and the Winnipeg Jets’, they will be sending the lower of the two picks to the Panthers as a part of this deal.
This trade comes just one day after Vatrano would score two goals, including the game-winner in overtime, in a Panthers victory over the San Jose Sharks.
Since being traded to the Florida Panthers in 2018, Vatrano has found his stride as a regular NHL contributor after struggling to consistently find minutes with the Boston Bruins. Vatrano’s goal-scoring prowess was never a question, it was just a matter of finding consistency and being able to replicate his success from the AHL in the NHL.
In his first full season with the Panthers, Vatrano would score a new career-high in goals and points – both marks still holding up as his career-best to this day, with 24 goals and 39 points in 81 games. Though he hasn’t been able to crack the 20-goal mark again since that season, he’s also played in fewer than 70 games in each season since. Pro-rating his stats over a full 82 game season would make him a 20-goal scorer each year, which is an important distinction.
Both Rangers and Panthers Get Value From This Deal
This season, Vatrano’s goal-scoring has taken a bit of a dip, though, as he’s scored just 10 goals and 19 points in 49 games. Still, as a depth scorer who can come in and immediately contribute for the Rangers, this is a good low-risk pickup for a team looking to advance past the first round in the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
The Panthers, on the other hand, are getting back most of the value they traded away for Vatrano. Back in 2018, the team traded a third-round pick to the Boston Bruins in exchange for the 28-year-old. Moving him four years later as a rental and getting a fourth-round pick in return after getting solid play out of him in the interim seems like a fairly good use of assets, especially if the Panthers intend on using some of the cap space saved in this deal to make a bigger acquisition at the upcoming NHL Trade Deadline. Vatrano is in the final year of a contract that pays him $2.53 million annually.
In the end, the Rangers are getting a good depth scoring piece who can slide up and down their lineup as needed. The Panthers are getting some cap space in the deal as well as a fourth-round pick for a player who wasn’t contributing as much as he was in past seasons.