Rangers, Senators Swap Derick Brassard, Mika Zibanejad

The New York Rangers have traded Derick Brassard and a 2018 7th round draft pick to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Mika Zibanejad and a 2018 2nd round draft pick, the teams announced Monday.

The 23-year-old Zibanejad comes to the Blueshirts with one year left on his contract, carrying a cap hit of $2.625 million. At the end of that deal, he will be a restricted free agent. For the Rangers, they are acquiring a high draft pick, something they’ve had woefully few of, and inject some youth while providing a bit of cap relief as they try to lock up RFAs Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes to new contracts.

That’s a good situation for the Rangers. They’re getting younger and more affordable as they try to refresh the roster on the fly.

In Brassard, the Senators get an immediate upgrade for this year’s roster and get a little help down the middle. Brassard is locked up for the next three seasons with a $5 million cap hit. Though it does age them some with Brassard already 29 and the Senators looking like they may not be ready to compete for a Stanley Cup this season.

However, NHL.com’s Arpon Basu reports that Brassard had a $2 million signing bonus on July 15, which means that the Senators not only get a strong center, but the notoriously frugal team gets Brassard’s $5 million AAV over three seasons for just $10.5 million in actual cash.

Also at work here may be that Ottawa is Brassard’s hometown club and he also spent a brief stint playing under incoming Ottawa coach Guy Boucher when they were both with the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs.

The trading partners have both been criticized by fans over the summer for doing relatively little to fix the struggles of last year. This helps both teams to address some of those issues, even if it looks like a bit of a stop gap for the Senators that doesn’t address the depth of their issues.