-- The deal:
Tampa Bay Lightning get: D Ryan McDonagh, C J.T. Miller
New York Rangers get: C/LW Vladislav Namestnikov, D Libor Hajek, C Brett Howden, 2018 first-round pick, conditional 2019 second-round pick.
Follow all the trade deadline action here.
Click here for all of the trade grades ahead of the 2017-18 deadline.
Tampa Bay Lightning: A-
The Lightning were going to end the NHL trade deadline with another defenseman. Was it going to be Erik Karlsson, a game-changing, generational talent? Was it going to be Mike Green, a veteran rental? Instead, it was Ryan McDonagh, who might not be Karlsson but could be the final piece of a Stanley Cup puzzle for the Lightning -- for the next two seasons.
McDonagh has 26 points in 49 games, which is slightly down from his averages from last season. Defensively, he has been off his game, but then one could say that about the entire Rangers team. The Rangers' even-strength possession numbers with McDonagh on the ice were at the lowest for a season in his career, at 46.4 in Corsi for percentage. This change in scenery was necessary, and it's not like the 28-year-old can't regain his form.
When he's on his game, McDonagh is an elite defenseman, averaging 23:24 per game in his past 270 games. He's mobile, he's got a great hockey IQ and he is smart about his offensive contributions.
He rounds out this Lightning blue line that now looks Stanley Cup-caliber: Victor Hedman anchoring a top pairing, and McDonagh doing the same for a second pairing. As it turns out, there are two defensemen on the Lightning with whom McDonagh has played with on the Rangers: Anton Stralman and Dan Girardi. McDonagh and Girardi were, at one point, one of the best shutdown pairings in the NHL. That time has passed, but maybe Jon Cooper gets nostalgic and reunites them.
Best of all for the Lightning? McDonagh has a manageable, $4.7 million annual cap hit through next season, giving them an elite-level defenseman in the short term before having to worry about a max contract extension for Nikita Kucherov, among other financial considerations.
(They also get out from under an RFA contract negotiation with Namestnikov, which would have cost them a bit considering his first-round contribution.)
Miller is a great add, too, with 13 goals and 27 assists in 64 games for the Rangers. He's a point-producing, tenacious energy player who can play center and wing. He's signed at $2.75 million this season, but his RFA money will be well below that of Namestnikov.
A tremendous trade for the Lightning that cost them plenty. At the end of the day, McDonagh is great, could be better and isn't Erik Karlsson.
New York Rangers: A
When the Rangers announced that they were going into a rebuild that would sacrifice fan favorites, McDonagh seemed to be the guy they were talking about. So the speculation began: It's one thing to announce a rebuild, it's another thing to actually get the necessary pieces for that rebuild through blockbuster trades.
Yet here we are for general manager Jeff Gorton and the Rangers: Getting an absolutely staggering haul for Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller from a Stanley Cup-thirsty Lightning.
Let's start with the picks. The Rangers get a first-rounder in 2018 and then a 2019 second-rounder that becomes a first-rounder if the Lightning win the Stanley Cup either this season or next season. Which, frankly, is quite possible.
The Rangers coveted Libor Hajek here, and rightfully so: a second-round pick in 2016 for the Lightning, he has played in the WHL for the past three seasons and looks like a promising two-way defenseman at 20 years old. Howden was drafted No. 27 overall in 2016 and has also spent the past three seasons in the WHL. He has 58 points in 38 games with Moose Jaw this season.
Namestnikov, 25, is having a career year playing on a line with two of the best offensive players in the world. He has 20 points and 24 assists. He's also an impending RFA making $1,937,500, so he's due a hefty raise. The Rangers could make him part of the future -- or trade him this summer to hasten another area of the rebuild.
The Rangers needed home runs in this rebuild. This one landed in the bleachers.