New York Rangers general manager (GM) Chris Drury traded right-handed defense prospect Nils Lundkvist to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a conditional first-round pick in 2023 and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2025. If the Stars’ 2023 first-round pick is in the top 10, they will keep that pick, but the Rangers would receive their unprotected 2024 first-round pick.
Though Lundkvist has the potential to develop into a very good two-way defenseman, Drury deserves credit for the big return in the trade. The move also shows growth from him after his questionable Pavel Buchnevich deal last offseason.
Why Drury Made the Lundkvist Trade
One of the Rangers’ strengths is their depth on defense, as they have four reliable defensemen in Ryan Lindgren, Adam Fox, K’Andre Miller, and Jacob Trouba. They also have three talented defense prospects: Braden Schneider, Zac Jones, and Matthew Robertson.
Fox, Trouba, and Schneider are all righties, which put Lundkvist in a tough position. Fox and Trouba are both signed to long-term contracts, and Schneider played very well in the NHL as a 20-year-old last season. Lundkvist would also have likely had to play on his off side in order to stay in the Rangers’ lineup.
Lundkvist dominated while playing for Lulea HF of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), but he did not play to his full potential last season with the Rangers. He played well defensively but also cautiously and did not produce offensively, and finished with just one goal and three assists. It certainly did not help that he spent most of his time paired with Patrik Nemeth, who struggled all season.