The New York Rangers made a minor deal to shed some salary and open a roster spot on Saturday evening when they sent forward Brendan Lemieux to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick.
Lemieux, 25, is signed through the end of next season at a salary cap hit of $1.55 million per season.
In 31 games for the Rangers this season he has two goals and five assists. Along with the Rangers he has also spent time with the Winnipeg Jets in his career.
At this point in his career Lemieux is what he is — a bottom-six forward that is going to play with an edge and chip in some occasional offense. It is not a trade that is going to significantly alter the path of either franchise in the short-or long-term.
What is fascinating about it for the Rangers is what it means for the rest of their roster. Aside from shedding some salary cap space for the rest of this season and next season it also opens up a roster spot as the Rangers juggle some lineup decisions. The most significant of those centers around the arrival of Vitali Kravtsov.
Kravstov has been practicing with the Rangers this past week and seems to be inching closer to his NHL debut. The 2018 first-round pick (No. 9 overall) is one of the league’s top prospects and would be another significant young building block added to a roster that already has recent top-two picks Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere.
In 46 games in the KHL this season Kravstov scored 16 goals.