Rangers acquire defenseman Brendan Smith from Wings

ByPierre LeBrun ESPN logo
Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The New York Rangers filled a need by acquiring defenseman Brendan Smith from the Detroit Red Wings on the eve of the NHL's trade deadline.

In return, the Wings will get a second-round pick in 2018 and a third-round selection in 2017. The second-rounder came fromOttawawith Mika Zibanejad in a trade last summer.

In making the playoffs for 25 straight seasons, the Red Wings have traditionally been a buyer at the deadline, but they are currently tied for last in the Eastern Conference.

Also on Tuesday, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland dealt Steve Ott to theMontreal Canadiensin exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2018.

"It's obviously tough, but it's part of the business," Ott said. "That Red Wing jersey meant a lot to me, and it meant a lot to my family to be able to play in front of friends and family every single night as a Red Wing.

"I'm heading to a good team with another great heritage, so it's very exciting now to know that I have a chance in the playoffs."

Veteran forwards Thomas Vanek and Drew Miller, along with their expiring deals, could be the next to go, as Detroit looks to get better in the long term.

"With where we are in the standings, I'm looking at the people we can trade and I'm trying to get more picks," Holland said. "The more picks you have, the better your odds are."

The Smith trade gives the Red Wings 10 picks in the draft this year, including three selections in the third round and two in the sixth.

The Rangers needed defensive help, announcing on Tuesday that Dan Girardi will miss 10 to 14 days with a right ankle injury that he suffered on Feb. 7. He then missed a few games but had been playing through the injury. Rangers coachAlain Vigneault said Girardi has an open wound that is not healing.

Defenseman Kevin Klein also has missed the past three games with back spasms.

Smith, 28, is a pending unrestricted free agent.

"I was in negotiations on an extension with his agent," Holland said of Smith. "But I told him if I got a deal I couldn't pass up, we would have to go in another direction. And that's what happened."

The Red Wings will not retain any of Smith's remaining salary, which was $2.75 million this season, sources told ESPN.

Smith was fifth in ice time in Detroit at 18:44 minutes per game. He has two goals and three assists in 33 games this season.

Smith played with Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh and center Derek Stepan at Wisconsin, so New York is hoping the connections will help in the transition.

The Rangers also made a deal involving minor leaguers, sending defenseman Mat Bodie of the Hartford Wolf Pack to the Buffalo Sabres for forward Dan Catenacci, who has been with the Rochester Americans of the AHL.

Information from ESPN's Craig Custance and The Associated Press was used in this report.