Via Frank Franklin II
The New York Rangers traded Nils Lundkvist to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a 2023 conditional first round pick, and a 2025 conditional fourth round pick.
Nils Lundkvist was the former 28th overall selection in 2018, and is a highly touted defensive prospect.
The conditions for the first round pick is that the pick is top-10 protected. This means that if Dallas were to finish in the bottom-10 in the standings, then the pick would transfer over to 2024, in which it would NOT be top-10 protected
The conditions for the fourth round pick are that if Lundkvist scores 55 points between this upcoming season, and the season following, the 2025 fourth rounder becomes a 2024 third rounder.
Nils Lundkvist was a late first round pick, so receiving a first rounder in this deal makes this at least a stalemate for the Rangers. However, if we take a closer look, this trade could prove to be one of the Ranger’s sneakiest.
The 2023 first round pick is a protected pick, which can indicate that Dallas isn’t confident that they will keep up their standards from last season, and make the playoffs. Every year, there is turnover in the playoffs so it would be reasonable to assume that one of the first round exits could possibly see themselves outside of the playoffs. This could very well be Dallas, as they around the middle of their division.
Colorado is by far the favorite to win their division again. St. Louis is another popular pick to rank high within their division, and Nashville bolstered their ranks with veteran additions like Ryan McDonagh and Nino Niederreiter, with another season of Eeli Tolvanen and Philip Tomasino. Minnesota could be a team that many see falling off, with the loss of Kevin Fiala, but that could be offset with Matt Boldy and Marco Rossi, given a chance to join the team full-time. That leaves Winnipeg, Chicago, and Arizona as teams that Dallas could be ranked above, which would leave Dallas as fifth in their division. It could be good enough to make the playoffs, or they could miss, and end up with a lottery pick. Something the Rangers have had an abundance of.
In the event that the addition of Lundkvist does not cause Dallas to make the playoffs, the Rangers could be looking at either a mid-first round pick, or a pick that’s so high it gets transferred over to next season, where we roll the dice once again. In the event that Lundkvist is the game-changer Dallas needed after losing John Klingberg, then the Rangers end up with a late-first round pick as well as a third round pick.
These picks are so important to the Rangers, not because we are rebuilding and need to stockpile picks, but for another reason: the trade deadline. Being able to lose non-player assets at the trade deadline is invaluable, and losing a first round pick that isn’t even your own? That’s invaluable. This trade could be the catalyst that the Rangers need to win a cup, or it could provide the Rangers with another young prospect they could use within their ranks, provided a player like Chris Kreider or Artemi Panarin loses their touch with age.
To summarize, the Rangers trade a player who wouldn’t have had a role in their current system in exchange for trade assets at the deadline. The return of this trade succeeded many of the expectations that Rangers fans had, as well as getting fair value for a player in a situation where the Rangers had little wiggle room.