Monday’s trade of Vladislav Namestnikov to Ottawa that yielded blueliner Nick Ebert and a 2021 fourth-round pick seemed like a light return on the surface for a player that had a 48-point season back in 2017-18. Speaking with reporters including Newsday’s Colin Stephenson, Rangers GM Jeff Gorton provided some insight into the swap:
We feel like we’re deep enough, moving forward, that we could replace Vlad and give some other people some opportunities. And at the same time, the cap always factors into what we’re doing.
While the Rangers ultimately retained $750K, the move still freed up over $3MM in cap room which, if unused in the months to come, would give them plenty of space to work with by the trade deadline. At the very least, it will give them some flexibility for in-season recalls when injuries arise. Speaking of recalls, Gorton indicated that the team doesn’t plan to call anyone up to take Namestnikov’s spot on the roster just yet. They have just one game between now and next Thursday so there’s no rush to pull anyone up from AHL Hartford.
More from the East:
- The Penguins are shopping a defenseman and are open to bringing a center back following the injuries to Evgeni Malkin (four-to-six weeks) and Nick Bjugstad (four weeks), reports TSN’s Bob McKenzie in the latest Insider Trading (video link). While Jack Johnson and Erik Gudbranson have been the speculative options, they could also look at moving a depth option like Juuso Riikola who has yet to play this season. Given their salary cap situation, they will basically need to match money or take a lower-salaried player in return for any move they make.
- Bruins center Chris Wagner is hoping to get some security on his next contract after playing on short-term deals throughout his career, notes Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic (subscription required). The 28-year-old is making $1.25MM this season in the final year of his deal and while a lot of fourth liners have had to take short-term cheap deals as the top players receive higher salaries, impact fourth line players have still been able to secure deals in free agency such as former linemate Noel Acciari (three years, $5MM total with Florida). However, given Boston’s young forwards in the system, Wagner may have to look elsewhere to get that type of commitment next summer.