The Boston Bruins acquired goal-scoring forward Rick Nash from the New York Rangers in a four-player trade, the teams announced Sunday. New York receives forwards Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey, defenseman prospect Ryan Lindgren, a 2018 first-round pick, and a 2019 seventh-round pick for Nash.
The Rangers are retaining 50 percent of Nash’s $7.8 million cap hit for this season, while the Bruins are retaining 50 percent of Beleskey’s $3.8 million cap hit through the 2019-20 season.
The addition of Nash gives the Bruins an added dose of finishing ability at the top of their lineup for the stretch run. The 33-year-old brings size (6’4, 211 pounds) and has a track record of scoring in the NHL. This season, he has 18 goals and 10 assists in 60 games for the Rangers.
The Bruins have one of the best, if not the best, top lines in hockey, but Nash will give them added depth for a potential Stanley Cup run. He could skate on a second line with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk, and provide a bit of a different element than the other forwards in their top six.
The price in order to acquire Nash was a pretty high one. Spooner is a 26-year-old winger with 25 points in 39 games this season. He’ll be a restricted free agent due for a raise from his $2.825 million cap hit this summer, but the Rangers should have the flexibility to re-sign or trade him depending on what they want to do.
The other two big pieces are for the future in Lindgren, the Bruins’ 2016 second-round pick, and Boston’s 2018 first-round pick. Lindgren is a sophomore at University of Minnesota and played for Team USA at the 2018 World Junior Championships in December.
Lindgren was ranked No. 8 among Bruins prospects by MassLive a few days ago, with the write-up noting that, “He does not offer much as a scoring defenseman, and he rarely makes long end-to-end rushes with the puck.” However, he’s already playing a big role as a sophomore at Minnesota and could develop into a solid mid-tier NHL defenseman.
New York also took back Beleskey as a bonus of sorts. He’s owed a $3.8 million cap hit through 2019-20, so each team will be on the hook for $1.9 million until the end of that season. For the Bruins, getting out of even part of that contract is likely a positive, and for the Rangers, using that cap space to maximize the return in the Nash trade was a reasonable move.