The New York Rangers announced they have completed a trade that will send veteran winger Rick Nash to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a 2018 first-round pick, defensive prospect Ryan Lindgren, forwards Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey and a seventh-round pick in the 2019 draft. The Rangers are expected to retain 50 percent of Nash’s salary (the maximum allowed)according to Pierre LeBrun. The Bruins are also expected to retain some of Beleskey’s salary.
For Boston, the deal adds a solid veteran to their top-nine core and improves the team’s depth. The 33-year-old was having a solid season in New York as he has 18 goals and 10 assists this year. His knack for finding the goal makes him a welcome addition. He has 434 career goals and is one point away from reaching 800 career points. However, it is the intangibles of a veteran leader and playoff veteran that makes him so coveted as Nash has played in 77 career playoff games. He is in the final year of a eight-year, $62.4MM deal he signed in 2009 with the Columbus Blue Jackets. With the salary retention, however, the Bruins will only have to pay him $3.9MM of his deal for the remainder of the year, which was the only way the trade would have worked without involving a third team. NHL.com’s Joe Yerdon tweets that Nash is expected to join Boston for their game tonight in Buffalo.
Perhaps the key to the trade will be the Bruins first-rounder. That will give the Rangers two first, two second and two third-round picks in this upcoming draft. The Rangers, who are trying to build through the draft, already had two first-round picks in last year’s draft when they drafted centers Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil.
The Rangers add more to its struggling defense as they add Lindgren to their improving core of prospects. The Bruins 2016 second-round pick, the 20-year-old is in his second season at the University of Minnesota. The six-foot, 198-pound blueliner looks to be more of a physical defenseman who might eventually provide team depth as he has two goals and five assists this year in 33 games playing in the Big-10. He also has 49 penalty minutes.
Beleskey and Spooner were both added into the deal to make the salaries match up. Beleskey signed a five-year, $19MM deal in 2015 after he had put up a 22-goal season with the Anaheim Ducks. However, he has not been able to duplicate those numbers, although he did score 15 goals in the 2015-16 season. He only played in 49 games last year and just 14 for Boston this year as he was sent down to the Providence Bruins and has played for much the season there. The Bruins retained 50 percent of his salary as well. Spooner, on the other hand, could be flipped again if the Rangers can find a taker for the 26-year old. In 39 games this year, the center has nine goals and 16 assists.
Dreger adds that the deal for Nash could prompt a response from the Bruins’ Atlantic Division rivals as both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning might be more likely to improve their rosters for the upcoming playoff push. Both Toronto and Tampa Bay are looking to add depth to their defense.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie was the first to report the initial deal.