UPDATE (Monday, 5:25 p.m. ET): It’s official. The blockbuster trade has been announced.
The New York Rangers have acquired Vladislav Namestnikov, Libor Hajek, Brett Howden, a first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft and a conditional first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for defenseman Ryan McDonagh and winger J.T. Miller.
ORIGINAL STORY: The Atlantic Division race is going to be intense.
The Tampa Bay Lightning loaded up right before Monday’s NHL trade deadline, acquiring defenseman Ryan McDonagh from the New York Rangers, according to multiple reports.
It’s also being reported the Lightning landed forward J.T. Miller in the deal.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the return was huge.
This is an enormous move for the Lightning, who currently sit atop the Atlantic, leading the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins. Adding McDonagh to an already stout defensive corps featuring the likes of Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman gives Tampa Bay an even better blue line group.
McDonagh, who was the Rangers’ captain, logged big minutes with the Blueshirts, averaging almost 24 minutes of ice time per game. He’s chipped in two goals and 24 assists through 49 games this season.
Miller, meanwhile, is having a very nice season. He’s got 40 points (13 goals, 27 assists) in 63 games and should be even better on a team with as much talent as the Lightning.
The only roster player Tampa Bay is parting with is forward Vladislav Namestnikov. The 2011 first-round pick is having the best season of his young career, scoring 20 goals and adding 24 assists.
The Bolts’ bold move comes just one day after the Bruins made a splash by acquiring Rick Nash from the Rangers, followed by the Leafs swinging a trade with the Montreal Canadiens for Tomas Plekanec.