The trade market is heating up as the deadline grows closer and closer.
The New York Rangers got in on the action on Wednesday afternoon, reportedly acquiring forward Frank Vatrano from the Florida Panthers in exchange for a fourth-round pick.
Vatrano is a former 24-goal scorer who is in the midst of a somewhat underwhelming offensive year thus far, sitting with 10 goals and 9 assists or 19 points in 49 games, while fighting for minutes in Florida's stacked forward corps.
With so many talented players above him, Vatrano has been averaging just 12:12 in nightly ice time this season, his lowest total since coming to the Panthers from the Boston Bruins back in 2017-18.
The 28-year-old has shown flashes of upside in the past, and projects to help a Rangers team that needs secondary scoring help.
Vatrano is also a pending unrestricted free agent, set to hit the market when his contract expires at the end of the season. With the Rangers sitting with upwards of $6 million in available cap space prior to this trade, Vatrano's $2.53 million cap hit still leaves them enough space to add to their roster in other areas before the March 21st deadline.
For Florida, the Panthers do well in getting a mid-round pick for an asset that was otherwise a luxury for them when accounting for his production and price tag.
It's the rare pre-deadline deal made between two contending teams, with both the Panthers and Rangers gearing up for playoff runs of their own.
And based on how the market is turning out, it likely won't be the last, either.