General Manager Chris Drury made several transactions for the New York Rangers on Tuesday in the hope of fine-tuning the team for a deep run in the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs.
On the final day of the NHL trade deadline, Chris Drury made several trades to shore up his squad for what he and the New York Rangers hope will be a deep run in this year’s post-season.
The Rangers traded for defenseman Justin Braun from the Philadelphia Flyers, center Andrew Copp from the Winnipeg Jets, forward Nick Merkley from the San Jose Sharks, and forward Tyler Motte from the Vancouver Canaucks. The trades will upgrade the blueline as Braun should be paired with Patrik Nemeth as the new third pair defense unit.
Copp and Motte will be added to the bottom six forming a more cohesive unit. The trades come at a time of uncertainty as head coach Gerard Gallant announced this evening that both Kappo Kakko and Kevin Rooney would be out of the lineup for the remainder of March and possibly into April.
Details of Trades
Justin Braun– Was acquired in exchange for a third-round selection in the 2023 NHL Draft.
Braun, 35, has tallied five goals and 11 assists for 16 points and a plus-3 rating in 61 games for the Flyers this season. In addition, Braun has recorded 79 hits, a team-high 114 blocked shots, and has averaged 20:02 of time on ice this year. His five goals are tied for a career-high mark he originally set in 2017-18 with San Jose.
The Minneapolis, Minnesota native has skated in 783 career NHL games split between the Flyers and Sharks, registering 33 goals and 162 assists for 195 points and a plus-25 rating. Braun is in his third season with the Flyers after coming from San Jose where he played nine years (2010-11 – 2018-19). In 2017-18 with the Sharks, Braun set career-highs in assists (28) and points (33) while ranking second on the team in hits (143), blocked shots (152), and second among Sharks defensemen in points.
The 6-2, 205 pounder has 100 games of playoff experience to his name, tallying three goals and 12 assists for 15 points. He made it past the Second Round of the playoffs in four out of five years from 2016-20. Braun helped the Sharks advance to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final in a playoff year that saw him set career-highs in games played (24), goals (2), assists (5), points (7), and plus-minus (plus-7).
Braun was originally selected by the Sharks in the seventh round, 201st overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
Andrew Copp– along with a sixth-round selection in the 2023 NHL Draft from the Winnipeg Jets. In exchange, the Rangers have traded forward Morgan Barron, two conditional second-round picks (conditions listed below), and a fifth-round pick in 2023.
- Conditional second-round pick 1 (NYR’s own second-round pick in 2022; becomes a first-round pick in 2022 if the Rangers advance to the Eastern Conference Final and Copp plays in at least 50 percent of New York’s playoff games).
- Conditional second-round pick 2 (either STL’s own second-round pick in 2022 or NYR’s own second-round pick in 2023).
Copp, 27, has registered 13 goals and 22 assists for 35 points in 56 games with the Jets this season. Among Winnipeg skaters, Copp ranks sixth in goals, seventh in assists, fifth in points, and fourth among Jets forwards in time on ice per game (19:48). Last night, Copp recorded his fourth three-point game of the season.
The Ann Arbor, Michigan native has skated in 467 career NHL games, all with Winnipeg, notching 74 goals and 110 assists for 184 points and a plus-56 rating. Copp has recorded double-digit goal totals in each of his last four seasons and 20 or more points in each of his last five seasons. In 2020-21, the 6-1, 206 pounder established career highs for goals (15), assists (24), points (39), power-play goals (6), and power-play assists (6). In the past two seasons combined, he ranks fifth on Winnipeg in points (74) and assists (46), and sixth in goals (28). His nine power-play goals since 2020-21 rank fourth on the Jets.
Nick Merkley– Was acquired from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Anthony Bitetto.
Merkley, 24, has recorded one goal and two assists for three points in nine games with the Sharks this season. With the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League (AHL), he collected 11 goals and 25 assists for 36 points in 43 games this season. On the Barracuda, he ranks tied for first in assists, tied for second in points, and sixth in goals.
The Calgary, Alberta native has skated in 41 career NHL games split between the Sharks, New Jersey Devils, and Arizona Coyotes, tallying four goals and 11 assists for 15 points.
Tyler Motte– Wasa acquired from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a fourth-round selection in the 2023 NHL Draft.
Motte, 27, has recorded seven goals and eight assists for 15 points and a plus-3 rating in 49 games with the Canucks this season. His eight assists are a career-high and his 15 points are the second-most in a single season in his career. He ranks fifth on the Canucks with 90 hits, sixth in blocked shots (51), and tied for sixth in takeaways (27).
The St. Clair, Michigan native has skated in 260 career NHL games with the Canucks, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Chicago Blackhawks, registering 35 goals and 27 assists for 62 points. Since 2017-18, Motte leads all Canucks skaters with 555 hits. Last season, Motte led all Canucks skaters in hits (100) despite missing 32 games due to injury. In 2020-21, he was awarded the Fred J. Hume Award as “Unsung Hero” as voted by the Canucks fans and was also named the winner of the Daniel & Henrik Sedin Award for “Community Leadership”. (Notes courtesy of NYR PR Department)
The Rangers’ next game will be on Tuesday night vs. the New Jersey Devils at MSG. Providing all players can get to Garden for that game a projected lineup for the forwards could look like the following;
Kreider – Zibanejad – Lafrenierefor
Panarin – Strome – Vatrano
Copp – Chytil – Goodrow
Motte – McKegg – Hunt/Reaves