It was just over a week ago that the Tampa Bay Lightning (45-17-4) and the New York Rangers (30-30-6) pulled off the biggest blockbuster at the NHL trade deadline. They’ll do business again this Thursday at Amalie Arena, starting at 7:30 PM ET.
The deal in question saw the Lightning acquire defenseman Ryan McDonagh and LW JT Miller from New York, in exchange for forward Vladislav Namestnikov, two prospects and two draft picks. Tampa Bay is 2-0-1 since the trade, although McDonagh has yet to make his debut because of an upper-body injury; that debut will happen this Thursday if all goes according to plan.
The Rangers, meanwhile, have won three straight games since the deadline, giving them a faint glimmer of playoff hope in the weak Metropolitan Division. Namestnikov had a goal and an assist in those three games, centering New York’s top line, and he won over 55% of his face-offs. The Blueshirts have also enjoyed strong early returns from forward Ryan Spooner, who came over from the Boston Bruins in the big Rick Nash trade. Spooner has one goal and six assists in four games playing left wing on their second unit.