Trade deadline tracker:
A day before the NHL trade deadline, the Boston Bruins have acquired left winger Rick Nash, who was nearly a sure thing to move before Monday. In return for Nash, the Rangers have received defenseman Ryan Lindgren, forwards Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey, a first-round pick in the 2018 draft and a seventh-round pick in the 2019 draft.
The Rangers will also retain 50 percent of Nash’s salary, which is the most that the current CBA will allow. Nash will be an unrestricted free agent after the season ends.
The move clears a 33-year-old winger from the Rangers’ books, while adding 20-year-old Lindgren, 26-year-old Spooner and 29-year-old Beleskey. It’s an expected move from a team that is.
It’s a savvy move for the Bruins as well, who are shaping up to be contenders. They have 82 points, third in the East and five games back of the Lightning.
Nash joins the team as its fourth-leading goal scorer with 18. He also has 10 assists, putting his points total at 28. He may not be the Rick Nash of old, but he still automatically bolsters a team that’s already tied for seventh in the league in goals scored at 191.
In addition, the Rangers retaining 50 percent of Nash’s $7.8 million cap hit, the Bruins will retain part of Beleskey’s $3.8 million hit. Beleskey’s contract runs out after the 2019 season, so it’s unlikely that he’ll be part of the Rangers’ long-term plans. He’s struggled to even get on the ice for the Bruins, although the move may help him as he goes from a contender to a team that just needs direction.
Spooner will also be a free agent after this season, although his situation is trickier for the Rangers. Depending on how quick they expect their turnaround to be, he may be worth retaining after the season is up.
It’s the kind of move you expect between a rebuilding team and the hottest team in hockey that has pushed itself into the Cup conversation. The Bruins get a proven veteran that helps this season but may not beyond it, whereas the Rangers get a solid package that includes a prospect, two picks, a player in his prime and a salary dump for the contender. It’s a rare trade that it feels like both sides win, but this move makes a lot a sense for everyone involved.