Just a day before the NHL Trade Deadline, the New York Rangers continued to exchange veterans for young players and draft picks. The Rangers traded Rick Nash to the Boston Bruins for a first round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, forwards Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey, defenseman Ryan Lindgren and a 2019 seventh-round pick. Due to salary cap reasons, the New York Rangers will be retaining 50% of Nash’s salary, while Boston will be retaining 50% of Beleskey’s salary. With both teams going towards two different directions, who won the trade?
In 60 games, Rick Nash has 18 goals, 10 assists and a plus-minus of -8. In a disappointing season for the Rangers, even though he is past his prime, Nash has been a productive part of the Rangers earning goals when it mattered, becoming the Rangers leading goal scorer. With the Rangers having a down season, it was only time before Nash was traded.
In 39 games, Ryan Spooner has 9 goals, 16 assists and a plus-minus of +10. In a season where he missed half of it with a lower-body injury, Spooner has been inconsistent for the Bruins. Even though he missed time, Spooner still underperformed in a depth role on the team outside of the power play, and his point total this season shows that.
Drafted by the Boston Bruins in the second round of the 2016 Draft, Ryan Lindgren has been an interesting prospect in the organization. Playing for the University of Minnesota and the United States U-20 Hockey Team in the World Junior Classic, he has been impressive and has a bright future in the NHL as a top-four defenseman.
When the season started, the Boston Bruins were a team that a lot of people were expecting to be fighting for a top draft pick. Fast forward to the present and the team is now one of the top squads in the Eastern Conference. With a solid defensive core and an offense that has plenty of firepower, the Bruins should be able to go far in the playoffs if they continue to play like this.
For the Rangers, however, it is a totally different story. The team was expected to be a favorite in the Metropolitan division, but now sit in last place in the division. With how the season turned out, it is only right that New York cleans the house and heads to a rebuild stage for the next several seasons.
On the Bruins side of things, they needed to improve the top six, and Rick Nash does that. Playing with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejčí will rejuvenate Nash’s career. On the second line, Nash will give it some much-needed firepower, as he is a top-six forward that can score 20-25 goals a season.
Giving up pieces like Lindgren will be tough, but the Bruins have other young defensemen on the team right now, so would be difficult to see where he would fit. Getting a team to take Matt Beleskey is truly a miracle, considering he has been a disappointment. The Bruins are in a win-now mode, so giving up young pieces for players that can help now is worth it.
For the Rangers, it was quite obvious that they needed to rebuild, and the team received quite the package in return for Nash. Ryan Lindgren will take a few years to develop, but he will be an important part of the Rangers rebuild. The team took Beleskey for salary cap reasons, and he won’t prove to be anything special. When you are rebuilding, getting draft picks is the end goal, and the Rangers got two of them. Spooner is young enough to be a part of the rebuild, with him being only 26-years old.
At the end of the day, even though the Rangers got value for Nash, Boston wins this trade as of right now. The team didn’t have to give up any promising prospects such as Jake DeBrusk. The Bruins were also able to add a veteran goal scorer like Nash, while keeping the main core intact. If this is just a rental, and Boston can’t capitalize, then the Rangers will be the winners of this trade.
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