Rangers acquire James Sheppard from Sharks for pick

James Sheppard has been traded to the New York Rangers, per reports. (USATSI)
James Sheppard has been traded to the New York Rangers for a draft pick. (USATSI)

The New York Rangers stayed busy Sunday after two trades already completed earlier in the day. New York announced the club has acquired depth forward James Sheppard from the San Jose Sharks for a fourth-round pick in 2016.

By bringing in Sheppard, the Rangers nab a bottom-six center who could end up being a better fit for the club as a role player than veteran forward Lee Stempniak, who was traded to the Winnipeg Jets Sunday, was. According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, the Sharks retained $100,000 of Sheppard’s $1.3 million salary to help the Rangers with their cap situation.

A former ninth-overall pick of the Minnesota Wild, Sheppard has never lived up to the expectations of his high draft pick. He has developed into a reliable low-lineup player that can contribute the odd point while not getting roasted by the opposition in light minutes.

The 26-year-old has 16 points in 57 games this season. He will be an unrestricted free agent after this season.

For the Sharks, this is a deal that takes one of their better bottom-six players out of the lineup while they’re in a playoff race. Losing Sheppard certainly doesn’t signify the waving of the white flag on the season, but they got nothing that will help them this year out of the deal.

Moving Sheppard may open up some opportunities for younger players to get more ice time through the stretch run of the season, but that doesn’t help them much in the playoff race. That said, if the Sharks had no intention of re-signing Sheppard, getting something for him is better than letting him go this summer without compensation.

Considering head coach Todd McLellan and general manager Doug Wilson’s jobs could be on the line this year, it will be interesting  to see if there are any attempts before the deadline to improve the current roster. 

CBS Sports Writer

Chris Peters has been a hockey writer for CBS Sports since 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for numerous outlets and edited the United States of Hockey blog, covering the sport at all levels. Peters also... Full Bio

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