The struggling San Jose Sharks traded forward James Sheppard to the New York Rangers on March 1 for a fourth-round draft pick in the 2016 NHL draft. The Rangers also acquired defenseman Keith Yandle from the Arizona Coytoes.
The New York Rangers have acquired forward James Sheppard and defenseman Keith Yandle.
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According to The San Jose Mercury News' David Pollak, the Sharks acquired a fourth-round selection for the 2016 NHL draft in exchange. The move comes within a day of the NHL Trade Deadline March 2.
The Sharks previously acquired Sheppard via a trade with the Minnesota Wild for a third rounder in Aug. 2011. Sheppard is earning $1.3 million during the 2014-15 NHL season, has five goals and 11 assists for 16 points. He will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, per Pollak.
Sharks general manager Doug Wilson told The San Jose Mercury News that some of the players he's eyeing may not be available before the trade deadline. However, acquiring some of the pieces now will give the team more leverage for the offseason. In addition, dealing the 26-year-old Sheppard paves the way for Tomas Hertl to become the Sharks' third-line center.
Sheppard, who can play both wing positions as well as center, gives the Rangers much-needed versatility, per BlueshirtsUnited.com's Jim Cerny. He will complement a New York lineup that currently boasts of centers Derick Brassard, Derek Stepan and Dominic Moore. Sheppard joins Rangers teammates Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller who can play multiple positions.
The Rangers were not dealing on Sunday.
New York traded defenseman John Moore, prospect Anthony Duclair, a 2016 lottery-protected, first-round draft pick and a 2015 second-round pick for Arizona Coyotes defensemen Keith Yandle and Chris Summers as well as a fourth-rounder next year, per a March 1 upddate from ESPN's Katie Strang.
Coyotes general manager Don Maloney told Strang about the implications of the deal moving forward:
"It's very simple: The only way we could do a deal with the Rangers given their cap situation was to retain salary. That's the reality of the world we're living in. We would not be doing this type of deal if we were acquiring a 33-year-old player, but when you talk about a 19-year-old potential first-line winger and a couple of other high-draft pick assets, you realize it's going to cost you some money to make this type of deal.
"We're resetting this team. We're gaining assets that in three, four, five years will put us in position to win the Stanley Cup."
Strang stresses Arizona gets to retain half of Yandle's salary. According to Spotrac.com, Yandle's five-year deal worth $26.5 million expires in 2016. He has an average salary-cap hit of $5.3 million.
Yandle, who had been leading the Coyotes with 41 points prior to his trade to New York, offers veteran leadership and scoring ability at the defenseman position, per Strang.
For his part, Rangers general manager Glen Sather has been active leading to Monday's trade deadline. The ESPN New York update says he has been on the lookout for potential suitors for pending unrestricted free-agent forward Mats Zuccarello. Talks between the two sides had slowed down but has since picked up, possibly paving the way for a new deal.
In addition to the deals for Sheppard and Yandle, the Rangers also acquired left wing Carl Klingberg from the Winnipeg Jets for Lee Stempniak, per Strang. With a flurry of pre-trade deadline deals, the team is in a position to wrest the Metropolitan Division lead from its rival, the New York Islanders. The Rangers are 38-17-6 while the Islanders are 41-21-2 as of March 2, according to ESPN.
Cerny reported on Sunday that Sheppard will wear No. 45 while Yandle will wear No. 93 for the Rangers. New York hopes both players can suit up in its March 2 home game against the Nashville Predators, who, at 41-15-7, have the league's best record.
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