Rangers & Blues Complete Second Blockbuster Before 2023 Trade Deadline

The second blockbuster trade of 2023 has been completed as the New York Rangers and the St. Louis Blues are now the teams involved. One of the top trade candidates this season, Vladimir Tarasenko, is off the board as he and Niko Mikkola are sent to the Rangers in exchange for a conditional 2023 first round pick, conditional 2024 fourth round pick, Sammy Blais, and Hunter Skinner.

Rangers were one of the teams Tarasenko was willing to waive his NTC for, as reported earlier today, along with both New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils. This trade addresses the top-six winger the Rangers were hoping to land at the deadline as well as bring in a third pairing defenceman for the left side.

Tarasenko has familiarity with one member of the Rangers in particular, Artemi Panarin. Tarasenko tried pushing the Blues into signing Panarin when he was coming to play in the NHL. The Blues wouldn't oblige and Panarin ended up signing with the Chicago Blackhawks. Now the two will finally be able to play on the same team in the NHL on the same line, one as an elite passer, and the other as an elite goal-scorer. Panarin is one of the leaders in slot passes this season while Tarasenko is one of three players to score 33-plus goals in six or more seasons since 2014-15.

Mikkola also has some familiarity coming to the Rangers as he and Kappo Kaako won the gold medal at the World Juniors for Finland. The Rangers also sent Libor Hajek down to the AHL in a corresponding move.

Blais was initially part of the return for Buchnevich the last time these teams made a major deal like this one. Rangers provide the Blues with one of their two first round picks this season. The other was initially acquired at the start of the season from the Dallas Stars for Nils Lundkvist.

Blais played just 54 games for the Rangers over the past two seasons, recording just nine assists and playing a fourth line role. He won a Stanley Cup with the Blues and they are hoping he finds his game once again. The Blues are expecting to have Scott Perunovich and Marco Scandella back from injury after their break.

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