Lightning Round: Vladimir Tarasenko traded to New York Rangers

The second big deal involving a forward to happen this trade season

So far the focus of the 2023 NHL Trade Season has been on New York and the Metropolitan Division. First it was the New York Islanders shoring up their scoring by trading for Bo Horvat. Now it’s the New York Rangers answering by acquiring Vladimir Tarasenko and Niko Mikkola from the St. Louis Blues.

For the Rangers, they pick up a proven scorer who has struggled a bit this season (10 goals in 38 games). However, he is just a season removed from putting up 34 goals and 82 points in 75 games. With countryman Artemi Panarin setting him up for the rest of the season, the Rangers are betting that Tarasenko regains his scoring touch down the stretch.

Niko Mikkola should help their defense as well. In a corresponding move, the Rangers also placed former Lightning prospect Libor Hajek on waivers. Mikkola, a 26-year-old defenseman, might have been on the Lightning’s radar as a depth defenseman. The 6’5”, 198 lbs. left-shot is set to be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

It is, in essence, a quintessential modern-day trade. St. Louis gets a first round pick (the lower of the two picks the Rangers currently own as they also have Dallas’ first), a NHL ready youngish player (Sammy Blais, a 26-year-old forward), and a prospect (Hunter Skinner, a 21-year-old defenseman currently playing with the Jacksonville Icemen). They also picked up a fourth round pick in 2024.

The trade likely takes the Rangers out of the Timo Meier sweepstakes (and also the Patrick Kane one if he waives his NTC).

Lightning / NHL News:

Lightning defeat Avalanche, 5-0 [Raw Charge]

It may have just been a regular season win, but it still felt really good.

Lightning switch up defense [Raw Charge]

We didn’t get a true comparison due to the 11/7 line-up last night, but after a couple of rough games to start February, the defensive pairs were mixed up a little. The new combination of Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak did play the most at 5v5 (15:22) and had a pretty solid game.

Avalanche leave Tampa disappointed this time [Tampa Bay Times]

Eight months ago, Amalie Arena was the happiest place on earth for the Colorado Avalanche. Not so much on Thursday night.

Post game comments [Tampa Bay Lightning]

Alex Killorn

Brandon Hagel

Coach Jon Cooper

Bonus video from a few days ago:

Carter Stamkos

A special night for Benoit Groulx  [Gatineau Olympiques]

Jack Hughes week-to-week with injury [ESPN]

The 21-year-old, two-time All-Star suffered an upper-body injury in practice on Wednesday and now he New Jersey Devils will have to figure out how to survive in a tough Metropolitan Division without their leading scorer (67 points in 50 games).

Five potential destinations for Timo Meier [Daily Face-Off]

You can probably cross the Rangers off of this list with the acquisition of Vladimir Tarasenko. If he’s moved, I would think Carolina would be the most likely destination.

The NBA Trade Deadline vs. the NHL Trade Deadline in a Tweet:

Rhonde Barber selected to Pro Football Hall of Fame [Bucs Nation]