We have reports of a trade.
According to a breaking news report from National Hockey League insider Elliotte Friedman he is "hearing" that gritty New York Rangers forward Brendan Lemieux has been traded by the Rangers to the Los Angeles Kings. Not many details on what is going back the other way at this time, however Friedman is currently reporting that it is believed to be a draft pick.
Update: Friedman has now confirmed the trade, Brendan Lemieux to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a fourth round draft pick from the Kings. No word yet on the specifics surrounding this pick.
Update: The Kings' own 4th round pick in 2021 as per Pierre LeBrun.
Lemieux had 31 appearances for the Rangers thus far this season with 2 goals and 5 assists for 7 points and a whopping 59 penalty minutes to his name. Lemieux also boasts a plus minus rating of 0, which is pretty solid for a guy that is definitely viewed more as an agitator or enforcer type of player rather than a skilled forward.
The move is something of a curious one as it no doubt makes the Rangers a worse team in the short term, and it would appear to be an indication that the Rangers have resigned themselves to missing the playoffs this season. There is one very good reason that this trade may have happened however, although at this time it is pure speculation.
Waiting in the wings, and on the wing, has been Rangers 1st round pick Vitali Kravtsov who was selected 9th overall at the 2018 National Hockey League Entry Draft. Kravstov has been playing in the Kontinental Hockey LEague with Chelyabinsk Traktor and had 16 goals and 8 assists in 49 games this season at just 21 years old and many suspect it is only a matter of time before he officially joins the Rangers roster. The decision to trade Lemieux will not only clear up a spot on the roster for Kravstov should he join the team, but it will also clear up a significant chunk of cap space for the team while also bringing back an asset in the form of the 4th rounder.
Lemieux was not a rental in this deal, his current cap hit of $1.55 million will also carry over into next season and even then he will become a restricted free agent at the end of his contract giving the Kings potentially several more years of control.