Rangers trade for elite Stanley Cup-winning forward from Pittsburgh Penguins

Reilly Smith, Rangers
Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers began the 2024 free agency period with an underwhelming start as most of their top targets quickly signed elsewhere around the league. Fans were outraged by GM Chris Drury’s lack of action Monday afternoon, but he rapidly bounced back by acquiring a solid forward via trade that could help the Blueshirts bolster their roster next season.

Rangers send draft picks to Pittsburgh in exchange for Reilly Smith

Per NHLNetwork, Reilly Smith has been traded from the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Rangers. Smith, 33, is a veteran winger who recently hoisted the Stanley Cup with the Vegas Golden Knights in 2023.

Reilly Smith, Rangers
Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

After moving to Pittsburgh, Smith was a solid middle-six winger who dominated in nearly every facet of the game. The one area he seemed to lack in was producing offense, but he played on an average Penguins team that ultimately missed the playoffs last season.

If Smith is able to awaken his scoring abilities, he will serve as a great fit for the Blueshirts. His size will make up for his slow speed, something that New York was desperately missing. It’s unclear where Peter Laviolette will play Smith this upcoming season, but whether it be on the first or third line, he will surely make a positive impact.

It’s also worth mentioning that Smith has proven himself on both the power play and penalty kill throughout his career.

The only negative about this deal is the fact that the Rangers’ had to utilize more draft capital to make the trade happen. In exchange for Smith, the Blueshirts sent over two picks- a 2027 second and a 2025 conditional fifth. New York will be without a second round pick until 2028, fully enhancing this “win now” window.

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