As a general rule, it’s easier to be selling the big pieces than buying them at the trade deadline. Consider the Sunday morning deal that sent Rick Nash to the Boston Bruins – one that might fairly be labelled a blockbuster even though it’s centred around a 33-year-old winger playing out an expiring contract. The New York Rangers did very well here. They have started a rebuild after a prolonged stretch of success – “we will be focused on adding young, competitive players that combine speed, skill and character,” the organization told fans in a letter earlier this month – and managed to net a player for today (Ryan Spooner), a prospect for tomorrow (Ryan Lindgren), a 2018 first-round pick and 2019 seventh-rounder in exchange for Nash. They also assumed 50 per cent of Matt Beleskey’s deal while retaining 50 per cent on Nash – a significant aspect of the trade from Boston’s perspective because the Bruins are pushed up against the ceiling of the salary cap. There is next to no risk in this transaction for the Rangers. They’re not even sacrificing offence given that Spooner has outproduced Nash over the last three seasons (.573 points per game compared to .545), albeit while largely being deployed in more favourable offensive situations. What Boston is buying is Nash’s bonafides – the big-game experience from Olympics and Stanley Cup playoffs past, not to mention a big body who still gets around the rink well. It is counting on him bringing better balance to the top six, with a spot on the second line beside David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk to start, but also the possibility he could be moved up to the No. 1 unit and allow David Pastrnak to be reunited with Krejci, if necessary.
Bruins take plunge, risk in Rick Nash deal while Rangers stock assets
Sportsnet | Feb 25