In their only move before the trade deadline, the New York Rangers have acquired defenseman Brendan Smith from Detroit in exchange for two draft picks.
The trade includes the Rangers’ third round pick in this year’s Entry Draft and Ottawa’s second round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, which the Rangers acquired after sending Derrick Brassard to Ottawa in the offseason for Mika Zibanejad.
Yes, the Rangers have a habit of trading away important draft picks but in this case, this was a good move.
Smith has skated in 291 career NHL games over a span of six seasons, spending his career so far with Detroit after being drafted 27th overall in 2007. He signed a three-year entry level contract in May 2010 and made his NHL debut on November 17, 2011. He’s tallied 67 career points, 15 goals and 52 assists, along with 281 penalty minutes.
In the 2013-14 season, Smith notched career-highs in goals (five), assists (14) and points (19). As a member of the Red Wings, he has played in the playoffs in each of the last four seasons, tallying six points (two goals and four assists) and a plus-one rating in 27 games.
This season, he has played in 33 games, registering two goals, three assists and 34 penalty minutes. He averages 18:44 of ice time, which was a career high and gave him the fourth rank among Detroit defensemen last season.
The Rangers have had various injuries on defense all season, so adding a veteran like Smith will only benefit the team overall. He could be one of the top defensive pairings and be a mentor for the younger players.
Smith will have some familiar faces on his new team. He played three seasons for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, along with Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh and center Derek Stepan.