To the surprise of no one, Rick Nash has been traded. The New York Rangers have sent the 6’4”, 211 lb. winger to the Boston Bruins. The full return of a very complicated deal is below:
OFFICIAL: #NYR have acquired a first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, defenseman Ryan Lindgren, forwards Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey, and a seventh-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft from the Bruins in exchange for Rick Nash.— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 25, 2018
According to reports, the Bruins are eating 50% of Beleskey’s contract, while the Rangers are confirmed to be retaining 50% of Nash’s remaining salary.
Deal is looking like this: Beleskey, Spooner, Lindgren and a first for Nash. Salary is retained on both Nash (50 per cent) and Beleskey— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 25, 2018
The Rangers pick up a valuable first round pick in this draft, a 20-year-old defensive prospect in Ryan Lindgren, playing at the University of Minnesota, and forward Ryan Spooner which makes this far more interesting. Spooner himself has 25 points this season in just 39 games which is better overall production than Nash. Beleskey at half price is something the Rangers might be able to work with. More on that front as we go.
The Rick Nash Stuff
This year has been an up and down one for Nash (18 goals and 10 assists for 28 points in 60 games) who is shooting just 9.5 percent which is 2.6 points below his career average of 12.1 percent. In all likelihood he will be looking forward to a fresh start with the Bruins as he is entering an environment where he doesn’t have to be “the” guy.
For context, here’s a look at Nash this year vs. Nash last year using Bill Comeau’s SKATR comparison tool.
As you can see Nash’s metrics are virtually the same, the difference being fewer primary assists and more secondary assists, a slightly worse penalty differential and better Rel CF% stats.
Overall we knew the Rangers were moving Nash, but now that it has happened it is just a move that slaps you in the face. It feels like yesterday that Nash was a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets playing against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden before the trade deadline being serenaded with chants of “we don’t want you...”.
Nash, if he doesn’t come back to the Rangers in free agency, will end his New York career with 145 goals and 107 assists for 252 points in 375 games in the regular season and 14 goals and 24 assists for 38 points in 73 playoff games.
Elliotte Friedman reported in early February that some teams felt that Nash could be a pure rental and could end up re-signing with the Rangers in the summer. If he does it will likely be at a cap hit way lower than the $7.8 million he carries now.
Personally a ton of the criticism and griping of Nash and his play was isolated to his salary–a salary that was inflated and given to him by the Columbus Blue Jackets at a time in which they needed to reach the cap floor–and if he came back in the range of $4 million it would be a great overall value.
For now though the focus is on the fact that the Rangers were able to make a really good deal which helps them in their goal toward building a Stanley Cup contender.
The first rounder this year, while it may be later on, is something that can be used as an asset depending on where the Rangers fall. Spooner is a 26 year-old player having himself a nice season. Lindgren is another defensive prospect from Minnesota, and we all know how much the Rangers loves their Minnesotans. The Beleskey contract is OK at 50% and something that won’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
What are your thoughts on the deal?