Ryan Lindgren of the Rangers defends against Alex Wennberg of the...

Ryan Lindgren of the Rangers defends against Alex Wennberg of the Kraken during the second period at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 16. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The NHL trade deadline isn’t until Friday, but once a couple of dominoes started falling Wednesday afternoon, contenders around the league started pulling triggers and getting deals done. The Rangers got in on the action when they acquired Alex Wennberg from the Seattle Kraken, sending two draft picks to the Kraken for the 29-year-old center.

After a couple of their potential trade targets were moved early in the afternoon, the Rangers announced later that they had sent their second-round pick in the 2024 draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2025 to Seattle for Wennberg, who has nine goals and 16 assists in 60 games.

The fourth-round pick is one that originally belonged to the Dallas Stars, and was acquired by the Rangers in the Nils Lundkvist trade before the 2022-23 season. The pick will become a third-rounder if Lundkvist reaches 55 points, combined, last season and this season. He had 16 last season and 15 in 45 games this season.

According to an NHL source with knowledge of the trade details, the Kraken agreed to retain 50% of Wennberg’s $4.5 million cap hit. The native of Stockholm, Sweden, is in the final season of a three-year contract he signed with the Kraken in 2021.

Back in Sweden, Wennberg played on the same team, Djurgarden, that produced current Rangers Mika Zibanejad and Erik Gustafsson. .

A lefthanded shot who played on both the power play and the penalty kill for Seattle (he has two power-play goals and one shorthanded), Wennberg will slot into the third-line center position behind Zibanejad and Vincent Trocheck.

If Rangers GM Chris Drury is able to acquire the right wing he is seeking, that would likely mean Kaapo Kakko, who has played the last three games on the right side of Zibanejad and Kreider, would drop to the third line, where he would play with Wennberg and rookie left wing Will Cuylle.

The Rangers, whose next game comes after the deadline, against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday at Madison Square Garden, entered this week with about $5.1 million in available cap space, after placing center Filip Chytil and winger Blake Wheeler on long term injured reserve. Though they are up against the $83.5 million cap, they are able to exceed the cap by the amount of Chytil’s and Wheeler’s salaries.

With Seattle retaining half of Wennberg’s cap hit, the Rangers now have roughly $2.85 million in available salary cap space to use to finish their deadline shopping. That would be just enough space to accommodate half the salary of another Seattle player of interest to Drury, right wing Jordan Eberle. Eberle, the ex-Islander, is in the final season of a five-year, $27.5 million contract he signed with the Islanders in 2019 and carries a cap hit of $5.5 million.

All reports suggest, however, that Drury’s primary target for the spot next to Kreider and Zibanejad has been Anaheim’s Frank Vatrano. Vatrano, who Drury acquired at the trade deadline two years ago from Florida, and who played with Zibanejad and Kreider during the Rangers’ run to the Eastern Conference final that spring, was Anaheim’s representative to All-Star Weekend this season. He is having a career year, leading the Ducks in scoring with a career-high 48 points, including a career-high 29 goals.

But Vatrano, who turns 30 on March 14, still has one more year on his contract after this one, at a cap hit of $3.65 million. And there are other teams around the league who are after him as well, including his hometown Boston Bruins, the team that signed him as an undrafted free agent out of UMass-Amherst in 2015.

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