-- The deal:
Boston Bruins get: LW Rick Nash
New York Rangers get: 2018 first-round pick, C Ryan Spooner, LW Matt Beleskey, D Ryan Lindgren, 2019 seventh-round pick
Follow all the trade deadline action here.
Boston Bruins: B
When you're team is pulling off the best balancing act in sports -- somehow contending while rebuilding at the same time -- you may not be inclined to take risks. Why mess with a formula that's working? Well, that's not these Bruins.
GM Don Sweeney?is doubling down on one more Cup run with his core ( Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand, et al) intact. As the Bruins have surged from a so-so start to five points behind the Tampa Bay Lighting in the race for the best record in the Eastern Conference, Sweeney has gone all-in.
The important caveat here is that the Rangers are retaining 50 percent of Nash's salary and cap hit, which is the maximum allowed. The Bruins are so snug against the cap, there was no other way to get the deal done. They also unloaded the contract of Matt Beleskey, which was huge.
A team with one of the best lines in hockey (Bergeron, Marchand and David Pastrnak) now boasts more depth.?Nash can plug in on the second line, centered by David Krejci, in place of Spooner. Nash adds size and strength that instantly make the Bruins grittier, let alone a much tougher team to match up against.
They did give up a lot in a first-round pick and Lingren (more on him below), so really this deal comes down to whether Nash can perform in the playoffs. He's a 33-year-old winger who has cracked 30 goals only once in the past five seasons and doesn't have terrific postseason numbers (15 goals, 26 assists in 77 career games). But if he's a factor at all in the postseason, and the Bruins make it further than the Lightning or Maple Leafs? We say the deal is totally worth it.
New York Rangers: B
It was one of the worst-kept secrets in the league that Nash was on the move -- hey, the team even wrote an open letter, essentially confirming it -- so the key here is that the Rangers maximized on the return. They certainly got a haul in a first-round pick, a top prospect and a depth forward they can plug into the lineup right away. However, somehow we were expecting more for the most experienced rental winger available. Maybe the market wasn't as strong as we thought.
Lingren, a left-handed defenseman, has played for the U.S. in the past two World Junior Championships. If he progresses as many scouts believe he can, he can be a dependable NHL defenseman -- perhaps eventually alleviating the potential loss of captain Ryan McDonagh.
As the Rangers embark on their retool, they now have six picks in the first three rounds of the 2018 draft (two firsts, two seconds and two thirds). That's not shabby at all. Taking on Beleskey's contract isn't burdensome, as the Bruins retain 50 percent of his salary and New York can always bury him in the minors.
Spooner, 26, isn't just a throw-in. He's having a good season and was playing on the Bruins' second line. He's a restricted free agent this summer, and if he impresses the Rangers, he could be an option to stay longer than that. Overall, this felt like a fair deal all around.