As expected, the rebuilding Rangers were busy before the NHL trade deadline passed Monday at 3 p.m., trading away Mats Zuccarello on Saturday before dealing Kevin Hayes and Adam McQuaid on Monday.
How did GM Jeff Gorton do? Here's a look at the three trades:
SEND: RW Mats Zuccarello to Dallas
RECEIVE: Conditional 2019 second-round pick, conditional 2020 third-round pick
The second-rounder can become a first-rounder if the Stars advance to the Western Conference Final this spring. The third-rounder can become a first-rounder if Zuccarello re-signs with Dallas. The Rangers retained about 30 percent of Zuccarello's remaining salary, which is essentially irrelevant with respect to evaluating the trade from the Blueshirts' perspective.
This deal seemed to be polarizing among fans, but the fact is the Rangers had to get something for the 31-year-old winger. Yes, he was a good player, a hard worker and a fan favorite. It certainly made Henrik Lundqvist emotional on Sunday, the goaltender fighting back tears and unable to answer a question about his friend being dealt away.
The diminutive Norwegian's rise to bonafide NHL playmaker has been remarkable. But the two sides have had opportunities to discuss a contract extension. If it was clear one wasn't going to be reached, the Rangers had to act.
No, there's no player coming back, no guaranteed first-round pick, but this was a reasonable return. Perhaps the Rangers and Zuccarello can revisit a reunion this summer, but this was a fine deal for the Rangers regardless.
Unfortunately for Zuccarello, he suffered a broken arm in his Stars debut after notching a goal and assist, and he'll miss roughly four weeks.
SEND: C Kevin Hayes to Winnipeg
RECEIVE: 2019 first-round pick, F Brendan Lemieux and a conditional 2022 fourth-round pick
The Rangers will only get that 2022 pick if the Jets win the Stanley Cup. Another unspectacular but solid return, dictated by the market and Hayes' rental status.
But again, as with Zuccarello, if the Rangers didn't intend on signing Hayes to an extension, then getting any assets of value can be considered a win because the alternative is letting him walk for nothing.
There weren't many first-round picks dealt before the deadline, and the Rangers got one of them. They now have five picks in the first two rounds of the 2019 NHL Draft. If Dallas wins two rounds and the Lightning win the Stanley Cup, the Blueshirts would end up with four first-rounders.
Whether Hayes, who turns 27 in May, is worth $6 million-plus a season on a long-term deal is debatable. Hayes has made huge strides in the last two seasons, but if the Rangers didn't want a 27-year-old Derek Stepan for four more years on a $6.5 million cap hit when they traded him before the 2017 NHL Draft - before his no-trade clause kicked in - it's not surprising they wouldn't want to sign Hayes to a deal in that ballpark.
Lemieux, who turns 23 on March 15, is the son of former Devil and four-time Stanley Cup winner Claude. Brendan has 11 points in 44 games this season and profiles as a physical, bottom-six forward.
SEND: D Adam McQuaid to Columbus
RECEIVE: 2019 fourth-round pick, 2019 seventh-round pick, D Julius Bergman
The 32-year-old McQuaid was always likely to be dealt around the deadline when the Rangers acquired him from Boston before the season, unless the Rangers were going to have a surprising season.
This deal is essentially a wash with the one they made with the Bruins, in which they dealt a fourth-rounder, a seventh-rounder and D Steven Kampfer, only the picks will be lower in those rounds with Columbus expected to make the playoffs.
A recent report out of Sweden linked Bergman, 23, with a return to the Swedish league next season. He's a restricted free agent at season's end and is in his fourth straight year in the AHL.
It was a mild risk by Gorton to bring McQuaid on in hopes he would perform well and bring back more than it took to get him.