New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has acquired Vladislav Namestnikov, Libor Hajek, Brett Howden, a first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, and a conditional first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller.
Namestnikov, 25, has skated in 62 games with Tampa Bay this season, registering 20 goals and 24 assists for 44 points, along with a plus-11 rating and 35 penalty minutes. He has established career-highs in goals, assists, points, average ice time (17:30), power play goals (eight), and shots on goal (127) this season. Entering today, Namestnikov ranked second on Tampa Bay in power play goals, ranked fifth in goals, and tied for fifth in points thus far in 2017-18.
The 5-11, 180-pounder has skated in 263 career NHL games over parts of five seasons (2013-14 - 2017-18), all with Tampa Bay, registering 53 goals and 70 assists for 123 points, along with a plus-24 rating and 128 penalty minutes. Namestnikov established a career-high in plus/minus rating in 2015-16 (plus-17). He has also skated in 29 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, as he helped the Lightning advance to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014-15 and to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final in 2015-16.
Namestnikov has earned several awards and honors throughout his career at the junior level, professional level, and in international competition. He helped Russia earn a bronze medal at the 2017 IIHF World Championship, as he registered six points (three goals, three assists) and a plus-seven rating in 10 games. He participated in the AHL All-Star Game in 2014-15, as he registered 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) in 34 AHL games during the season. In addition, Namestnikov helped the London Knights win the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Championship during his final season of junior hockey in 2011-12, and he recorded 18 points (four goals, 14 assists) in 19 playoff games that season.
The Zhukovskiy, Russia, native was originally selected by Tampa Bay in the first round, 27th overall, of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Hajek, 20, has split the 2017-18 season between the Saskatoon Blades and Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League (WHL), registering 11 goals and 24 assists for 35 points, along with 28 penalty minutes in 52 games. He has established WHL career-highs in goals, assists, and points this season. In addition, Hajek is tied for 13th among WHL defensemen in goals this season. The 6-2, 210-pounder has skated in 186 career WHL games over parts of three seasons (2015-16 - 2017-18), registering 18 goals and 69 assists for 87 points, along with 185 penalty minutes. Hajek has tallied at least 26 points in each of his three seasons in the WHL. In addition, Hajek participated in the CHL Top Prospects Game during the 2015-16 season.
Internationally, the Smrcek, Czech Republic, native has represented his country in several tournaments. Most recently, Hajek registered eight points (one goal, seven assists) in seven games at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship. He was named one of the Top Three players on his team, as he led all defensemen in the tournament in assists and tied for first among all defensemen in the tournament in points.
Hajek was originally selected by Tampa Bay in the second round, 37th overall, of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
Howden, 19, has skated in 38 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League (WHL) this season, registering 22 goals and 36 assists for 58 points, along with a plus-25 rating and 36 penalty minutes. He ranks ninth in the WHL in points per game in 2017-18 (1.53). In addition, Howden is serving as Moose Jaw's captain for the second consecutive season.
The 6-3, 200-pounder has skated in 237 career WHL games over parts of five seasons (2013-14 - 2017-18), all with Moose Jaw, registering 107 goals and 143 assists for 250 points, along with 196 penalty minutes. Howden established WHL career-highs in goals (38), assists (43), and points (81) in 2016-17. He participated in the CHL Top Prospects Game in 2015-16.
Internationally, the Calgary, Alberta, native has represented Canada in several tournaments. Howden helped Canada earn a gold medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, registering seven points (three goals, four assists) and a plus-nine rating in seven games during the tournament. He was also named one of the Top Three Players on his team during the 2016 IIHF World U18 Championship, as he recorded eight points (five goals, three assists) in six games.
Howden was originally selected by Tampa Bay in the first round, 27th overall, of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
By acquiring a first-round pick, the Rangers now have 10 picks in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, including three picks in the first round, five picks in the first two rounds, and seven picks in the first three rounds (their own first-round pick, Boston's first-round pick, Tampa Bay's first round pick, their own second-round pick, New Jersey's second-round pick, their own third-round pick, Boston's third-round pick, their own fourth-round pick, their own fifth-round pick, and their own sixth-round pick). In addition, the Rangers could potentially select three players in the first round of the NHL Amateur/Entry Draft in the same year for the first time in franchise history (since the Draft began in 1963).
McDonagh has skated in 516 games over parts of eight seasons with the Rangers (2010-11 - 2017-18), registering 51 goals and 187 assists for 238 points, along with 221 penalty minutes.
Miller skated in 341 games over parts of six seasons with the Rangers (2012-13 - 2017-18), registering 72 goals and 100 assists for 172 points, along with 144 penalty minutes.