The New York Rangers traded one of their long-time franchise players on Saturday evening, sending Mats Zuccarello to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a conditional second round pick in 2019. and a conditional third round pick in 2020.
The Stars will send the picks to New York regardless, but if they make the Conference Final, the second round pick becomes a first round pick. If the Stars re-sign Zuccarello before free agency, the third round pick becomes a third round pick.
The price, in a vacuum, seems low for Zuccarello. In 46 games this year on a subpar New York team, he has 37 points. He has had 49 points or more in each of the last five seasons, which includes a high of 61 in 2015-16.
Zuccarello embodies the New York Rangers spirit for his entire career. An undrafted, undersized winger from Norway, he worked his way to being one of the most skilled and effective players on the roster.
Dallas, on the flip side, has underachieved this season but is currently sitting in a playoff position. Dallas has 65 points in 61 games, and Minnesota, Arizona, Chicago and Vancouver are all within five points striking distance.
Sending a second round pick and a third round pick as a fringe playoff team is not ideal, but you have to respect Dallas general manager Jim Nill for not staying stagnant. It’s a very long shot that Dallas wins two rounds, or even that Zuccarello re-signs in Dallas, so the picks will likely remain where they stand through the offseason.
Dallas just needs to hope that it stays in a playoff spot after this trade. If not, changes must be made.