Marc Staal was traded to the Detroit Red Wings by the New York Rangers on Saturday.
The defenseman and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft go to Detroit for future considerations.
“The trade accomplishes a couple things,” Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said. “One, as part of our rebuilding process, we’re trying to add draft picks, prospects, young players, future assets, really, to help us down the line. That’s kind of where we are. In this trade, obviously we’re acquiring … we get a second-round pick in the  draft. But also we have to ice a team. We’re trying to be competitive. We’re trying to improve at the same time. So in this deal, not only [do] we get a defenseman that will go right into our lineup, that plugs a huge hole for us, we add future assets as well.”
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The 33-year-old will be playing the final season of a six-year contract he agreed to in January 2015. The NHL salary cap will remain at $81.5 million next season, which does not have a start date.
Detroit has the No. 4 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, which will be held Oct. 6-7.
“We have cap space,” Yzerman said. “We have roster spots to fill, so we have to be careful. You can get to the cap very quickly. But we’re in a position to potentially do future deals like this if they come along. There aren’t that many. They don’t happen a lot. But yeah, we’re in a position, if a team … there’s so much uncertainty in the League right now. Like, we’re heading into the draft. We’re heading into free agency (Oct. 9). We don’t really know when we’re starting, what the landscape is going to look like next year. So we’re all kind of going into uncharted waters.
“For the Red Wings, we are in a position, we do have cap space that we can use it. I hope to use it wisely, but one way we would like to try and use it is to acquire future assets should any teams be in a position where they really have to move contracts and don’t have any other options. Nobody wants to give up picks or prospects, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do to make your team better, and we’re trying to … I don’t want to say take advantage of that, but find teams that are in a position that need to do that. Again, we’re trying to add picks or prospects and at the same time ice a team.”
Staal scored 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 52 games for the Rangers this season, his 13th with New York. He missed 13 games after having ankle surgery Nov. 8.
The No. 12 pick in the 2005 NHL Draft, Staal scored 188 points (43 goals, 145 assists) and was plus-46 in 892 games with the Rangers. He played at least 72 games in each of the prior six seasons and 10 times overall.
Detroit used 14 defensemen last season. Two (Filip Hronek, 65; Patrik Nemeth, 64) played more than 53 of its 71 games.
“We’re looking to fill spots on the left and right side to be honest,” Yzerman said. “There’s a huge hole on our [defense]. We won’t be bringing back Jonathan Ericsson. We won’t be bringing back Trevor Daley. So there’s two spots on our left side that need to be filled, and we have Patrik Nemeth, Danny DeKeyser (eight games last season, back injury), and Marc Staal fits in nicely on the left side. He’s a good, solid defender, good size (6-foot-4, 209 pounds). Obviously he’s been in the League a long time. He’s a good penalty killer. So he plugs a hole for us on the back end.”
Staal scored one goal when New York was swept by the Carolina Hurricanes in the best-of-5 Stanley Cup Qualifiers this postseason.
“The success we had throughout Marc’s tenure, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Final (in 2014), would not have been possible without his tireless efforts on and off the ice,” Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton said. “The respect we have for Marc is immeasurable, and we wish him and his family all the best.”
With Staal, the Rangers advanced to the Eastern Conference Final three times in a four-season span (2012, 2014, 2015), losing to the Los Angeles Kings in five games in the 2014 Cup Final, and won 10 Stanley Cup Playoff series. He scored 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 107 postseason games and is one of three Rangers to play at least 100 postseason games (Henrik Lundqvist, 130; Dan Girardi, 122).
Staal played 18,394:47 with the Rangers, the most by any skater since the NHL began to track ice time in 1997-98. He was an alternate captain for 10 seasons (2010-20), one of three Rangers to either be captain or an alternate captain for at least 10 seasons (Brian Leetch, 13 seasons; Mark Messier, 10 seasons).
His brother, forward Eric Staal, was traded to the Buffalo Sabres by the Minnesota Wild on Sept. 16 for forward Marcus Johansson.
NHL.com columnist Nicholas J. Cotsonika contributed to this report