Mika Zibanejad has been traded from the Ottawa Senators to the New York Rangers in exchange for Derick Brassard.
One could look at the pure offensive numbers and decide that trade just doesn’t make sense. Brassard has averaged more goals over the last three seasons, he plays more physically, and has garnered a wealth of playoff experience.
A deeper look may give a more compelling answer.
- Several years younger
- Right shot
- A bit over $2.25m cheaper this season
- An RFA after this year
- Slightly better at faceoffs
- Productive on the penalty kill
- A better faceoff playoff man
- More productive in the post season
- Cost surety for this and two more season for the budget Senators
- A left shot
- Better on the powerplay
When you come right down to it the two are very similar in goals, points, zone starts vs zone finishes (despite Zibanejad playing more PK), PDO, the on-ice Corsi favors Zibanejad slightly, but the biggest difference after money, term, and age seems to be the penalties drawn and taken per 60. Zibanejad takes less penalties, and draws more than twice as many as well. I don’t discount the handedness, and youth, but from the Ranger’s perspective they seem to be a big factor, along with cash. Maybe they have something else in the works?
From the Ottawa standpoint, the trade may just be about adding veteran leadership and playoff experience. The difficulty in getting free agents to sign in Ottawa, Chris Kelly being the exception that proves the rule, is almost certainly a major factor as well. The Senators have shed an almost certain doubling (or more) of Zibanejad’s current salary and get to put a similar guy on the roster who is from not so very far away in Hull where he was born, if he likes playing at home, they may well be able to extend him at the end of his current contract.
Is this a “hockey trade”, not likely. Is this a bad trade for what either team needs over the next two seasons; equally unlikely.