Rangers Acquire Brendan Smith from Detroit for 2nd, 3rd-round picks

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Mike Valvano

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After missing out on Kevin Shattenkirk sweepstakes—and justifiably so, given the price he commanded—the Rangers have settled for their fallback – Detroit’s Brendan Smith.

I wrote about the kind of player that Brendan Smith is last week when there were some rumblings that he could be a target:

The real value in adding Smith to the lineup would be in the fact that he’s a strong possession player. This year, on a struggling Detroit team, he still owns a neutral Corsi rating and, other than this season, he’s never been below 53.2%. That ability, combined with his size, makes him a nice add for defending against teams like Columbus and Washington, who want to get the puck down low and grind out goals.

While Smith won’t be a one-for-one replacement for Shattenkirk, he will almost certainly be used to add a presence to the right side, despite being left-handed. This year, he’s played most of his minutes on the right when partnered with Niklas Kronwall and Xavier Ouelette. Though adding a righty might be preferable, Smith’s position flex makes him a good add as we could see him partnering with just about anyone.

At first glance, the two picks seem costly, though in line with the Michael Stone trade. While I’m glad no prospects—Sean Day especially—are included, it’s a tough pill to swallow for a guy who, at the end of the day, is going to give you a moderate upgrade over Kevin Klein or Nick Holden. Should the Rangers choose to extend him, and/or flip one of Klein or Holden for an asset, that hit is reduced and long-term could be a nice pickup. But if Smith is purely a rental, he’s a costly one.

With both Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein hurt, it’ll be interesting to see if the Rangers can get Smith to New York and dressed in time for tonight’s game. Even new to the system, he’d be an upgrade over Steven Kampfer, who figures to dress tonight after being called up earlier today. Smith would have to come all the way from Vancouver, so that might be too big of an ask, but he’s well-rested as Detroit is coming off of their bye week. It’d be nice for him to get an immediate welcome the Metro against the Capitals.

As an added bonus, the fans would get to welcome him and Shattenkirk to the Garden at the same time. The prognostications based on one game would, without a doubt, be a lot of fun!

In related news, the Rangers are also expected to assign Pavel Buchnevich to their AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolfpack, though it’s likely a temporary solution to the 23-man roster limit to carry them through the trading deadline while they finalize their plans for the playoff run.

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