Rick Nash to the Boston Bruins

Rick Nash to the Boston Bruins

The New York Rangers traded winger Rick Nash to the Boston Bruins in changes for forwards Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey, defenseman Ryan Lindgren, the Bruins first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft and their seventh-round pick in 2019.

As per Cap Friendly, the Rangers also absorbed $3.9 million of Nash’s $7.8-million cap hit. The Bruins, meanwhile, retain $1.9 million of Beleskey’s $3.8-million cap hit. 

The Boston Bruins acquired winger Rick Nash from the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has served notice that his club is a serious contender for the Stanley Cup this season. This move can be seen as a response to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ acquisition of center Derick Brassard from Ottawa on Friday.

Nash, 33, was the most notable forward available in this year’s trade market. Though no longer a dominant scorer, he’s still a very effective offensive winger who also plays a decent defensive game. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer. Given his skills and experience, the 6’4″, 211-pound Nash should be a significant short-term addition to the Bruins lineup. He’ll likely see second-line duty but can also move up if necessary to the top line. 

Beleskey, 29, and Spooner, 26, both had their struggles with the Bruins. Beleskey was sent to the minors in December, while Spooner’s inconsistency made him a frequent target of trade chatter over the last two years. Both might benefit from a change of scenery.

It’s Lindgren and the draft picks, however, that were the crucial components of this deal for the Rangers. Lindgren, a 2016 draft pick who plays for the University of Minnesota, has the potential to become a quality NHL blueliner. The Rangers now have nine selections in the 2018 draft, including two picks in each of the first three rounds. 

This deal will also create ripples in the NHL trade market. It could prompt the Tampa Bay Lightning to make a big move, perhaps for a defenseman such as Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson or the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh. It could also set the market value for Buffalo Sabres winger Evander Kane or Montreal Canadiens’ captain Max Pacioretty. 


NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2017

An obviously unhappy Matt Duchene poses for his Colorado Avalanche training-camp photo.

Latest on the Avalanche, Bruins and Golden Knights in your NHL rumor mill. 

THE DENVER POST: Mark Kiszla lays blame for Colorado Avalanche winger Matt Duchene’s obvious unhappiness on the opening day of training camp at the feet of general manager Joe Sakic. He feels Duchene should’ve been dealt by last season’s trade deadline, suggesting Sakic’s inability to move the forward this summer resulted in this obvious tiff between the two sides that undercuts Duchene’s trade value.

Kiszla also blames Sakic for the team going off the rails in recent years. “This is an NHL team that desperately needed to hit the reset button. The clueless Avs, however, are right back in crisis mode from Day 1.” 

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites TSN’s Darren Dreger and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman weighing in on the latest in the ongoing Duchene saga.

Dreger wondered about “what the hell is going on with Matt Duchene in Colorado.” He speculates the Montreal Canadiens could still have some interest in the Avs center, as well as the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Nashville Predators reportedly also looked at Duchene earlier this summer, but Dreger said they told him they haven’t been in touch with the Avs for some time. He was also critical of Sakic for seeking a high asking price for Duchene that his rivals aren’t willing to pay.

Friedman believes “the marriage is over” for Duchene and the Avs, believing it’s only a matter of time until the center is traded. He said he knows the New York Islanders were looking at Duchene and thinks the Pittsburgh Penguins did as well, though he didn’t think they had enough to make a deal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And on and on it goes. Look, I know some of you are sick and tired of reading about Duchene seemingly every damn day. I’m not exactly thrilled about writing the same stuff every day. But he’s still the hot topic in the rumor mill and his obvious sourness yesterday as he reported for training camp ensures he’ll remain that way until he’s finally dealt.

Sakic and the Avs now have an unhappy player on their hands, but as long as Sakic insists on a big return there’s nothing Duchene can do about it. He must have a strong bounce-back performance this season to entice an interested GM into meeting Sakic’s price. 

BOSTON HERALD: Steve Conroy suggests if the Bruins younger players can step up and contribute this season, it could make some of their veterans expendable. He singles out winger Matt Beleskey ($3.8 million cap hit) and center Ryan Spooner ($2.825 million) as possible trade chips. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Signed through 2019-20, the 29-year-old Beleskey’s annual cap hit and modified no-trade clause could make him tough to move this season. If the Bruins decide to shop him they might have to wait until next summer, when teams have more cap space. Spooner is on a one-year deal and was a frequent topic of trade chatter last season. He could be a more likely in-season trade candidate. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen recently reported Golden Knights GM George McPhee isn’t concerned over his glut of defensemen entering training camp. The club is carrying 11 blueliners on one-way contracts. He said he’ll see how training camp goes and see how they’ll proceed from there. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s expected McPhee could put a couple of defensemen on the trade block before the start of the season. Don’t expect promising Shea Theodore, Nate Schmidt or Colin Miller to be among them.


NHL Rumor Mill – July 27, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – July 27, 2017

Trade speculation persists about Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak.

More “Bozak to Rangers” speculation plus updates on Ryan Spooner & Will Butcher in your NHL rumor mill. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports there’s “zero evidence” Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak is in play for the New York Rangers or that the Blueshirts intend to buy out defenseman Marc Staal. But if Bozak ($4.2 million salary cap hit) were in play, Brooks believes buying out Staal would free up sufficient salary cap space for the Rangers to acquire the Leafs center, perhaps by packaging defenseman Nick Holden with a draft pick. If the Rangers buy out Staal, the deadline for doing so is today. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks believes the Rangers need depth at center after trading away Derek Stepan to Arizona last month. Earlier this month, he suggested the Blueshirts look into acquiring Bozak, who’s a year away from unrestricted free agency. The Leafs could use some experienced depth on their blueline but it doesn’t appear they have any interest in Holden or in peddling Bozak. 

CSNNE.COM: Ryan Spooner avoided salary arbitration yesterday by signing a one-year contract with the Boston Bruins. However, Joe Haggerty feels this is the 25-year-old forward’s last chance to “show some growth as a player” if he hopes to remain with the Bruins beyond 2017-18. If he doesn’t, it’s only a matter of time until he becomes trade bait. His $2.825 million cap hit should be easy to move. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Since last fall, trade speculation has dogged Spooner. This coming season could be a make-or-break one for him. While his cap hit is affordable, poor performance could hurt his trade value. 

NBC SPORTS: Jame O’Brien took note of 2017 Hobey Baker Award-winning defenseman Will Butcher’s decision not to sign with the Colorado Avalanche, making him eligible on Aug. 15 for unrestricted free agency. He expects Butcher, like Jimmy Vesey last summer, will attract considerable interest. He points out bloggers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks are already making the case for their clubs to pursue Butcher. 

NJ.COM: Chris Ryan believes it’ll make sense for the New Jersey Devils to pursue Butcher, noting they’re in the same situation with college center Alex Kerfoot. He points out the Devils need help on defense and GM Ray Shero intends to be active this summer in improving his roster. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Vesey last summer, Butcher isn’t doing this to get a better contract but to have a choice in where he gets to play. So far, there’s no indication on preferred destinations for the Madison, Wisconsin native.

If he wants to play close to home, the Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets, St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs could be options. That’s just speculation on my part. I’m sure we’ll learn more as Aug. 15 approaches. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2017

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is upset by the NHL’s decision not to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Latest on Connor McDavid, Johnny Gaudreau, Ryan Spooner & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

EDMONTON SUN: Oilers captain Connor McDavid expressed his disappointment over the NHL’s decision not to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics. “I’m really upset about it,” McDavid said. “You want to be able to represent your country on the highest stage, and the Olympics is obviously the highest stage possible.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  As The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell observes, if the NHL’s star players (such as McDavid) want to go to the Olympics, they need to become more involved in collective bargaining. 

NBC SPORTS: Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau clarified his recent comments suggesting “it would be sweet” to play for the Philadelphia Flyers (his hometown team) one day. “I think if you ask any player in the NHL if they’d like to play in their hometown at some point they’d all say it would be pretty sweet,” said Gaudreau. He repeated that he loves living and playing in Calgary and isn’t ruling out re-signing with the Flames when his current contract expires in 2022. 

BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins avoided salary arbitration with Ryan Spooner, re-signing him to a one-year, $2.825 million contract. 

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports MInnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher hopes to avoid salary arbitration next week with forwards Nino Niederreiter (Aug. 3) and Mikael Granlund (Aug. 4). He’s “open to any angle”, referring to deals of three, four or five years in length. It’s believed the duo seek long-term deals worth over $6 million annually. The Wild have over $15.7 million in salary-cap room.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild can afford to re-sign both but Russo said Fletcher wants to leave sufficient room for a possible free-agent addition, such as center Matt Cullen. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes hired John MacLean and Scott Allen as assistant coaches. 

BSN DENVER: 2017 Hobey Baker Award winner Will Butcher won’t be signing with the Colorado Avalanche and intends to test the unrestricted free agent market. He’s eligible for UFA status on Aug. 15. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Butcher will be this summer’s Jimmy Vesey. I’ll have more on his status in the Rumors section. 

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks hire Dave Barr as an assistant coach. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 25, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 25, 2017

Evgeni Malkin hopes to speak with Pittsburgh Penguins ownership regarding Olympic participation.

Olympic participation update, roundup of latest contract signings & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly poured cold water on talk of an alternative schedule that gave rise to the slim hope of the league’s possible participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. 

“There is not an alternative schedule. Having NHL Players participate in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games is not an available option,” said Daly. “All of the international federations are planning appropriately for constructing teams that will not include NHL players. I anticipate there will be federation announcements in the coming days that should eliminate any and all continuing doubt or skepticism about the issue.”

TVA SPORTS: Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin told Russia’s Soviet Sport he intends to meet with team owner Mario Lemieux to discuss the 2018 Olympics. “It will be difficult to go if the league refuses. Mario may not be able to influence their decision. But I want to talk to the owners,” said Malkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league has already indicated it would take a dim view of players under NHL contracts taking part in the 2018 Games. This situation could worsen the reportedly deteriorating relationship between the league and the NHL Players Association. It also raises the possibility of a star player prematurely retiring from the NHL in order to play for their country in Pyeongchang. 

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres winger Kyle Okposo wrote a thank you letter to the hockey community for its support during his recovery from an undisclosed illness tied to medication to treat a concussion that ended his season in March 2017. He expects to be ready to go for training camp in September. 

TSN: Free agent winger Jaromir Jagr remains hopeful of signing with an NHL team for 2017-18. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins avoided arbitration with defenseman Brian Dumoulin, re-signing him to a six-year contract worth an annual average value of $4.1 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Over the past two seasons, Dumoulin came into his own as a reliable top-four defenseman, playing a significant role in helping the Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cup championships. He also played through the 2017 postseason with a broken hand. Fortunately, he doesn’t require surgery. 

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators and forward Austin Watson also avoid arbitration, reaching agreement on a three-year, $3.3 million contract. He earned $575K annually at the NHL level on his previous contract. 

 OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya to a bonus-laden one-year deal. He’ll earn $1 million in base salary and could earn an additional $1.25 million. 

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets re-signed goaltender Connor Hellebuyck to a one-year, $2.25 million contract. He was slated to have an arbitration hearing on August 1. 

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders re-signed defenseman Adam Pelech to a four-year deal worth an average annual value of $1.6 million.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks avoided arbitration with winger Reid Boucher by signing him to a one-year deal worth over $687K at the NHL level. 

BOSTON HERALD: Bruins forward Ryan Spooner seeks a one-year, $3.85 million contract. The club is offering $2 million. His arbitration hearing is slated for July 26. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 23, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 23, 2017

The Nashville Predators re-sign Viktor Arvidsson to a seven-year contract.

Predators re-sign Viktor Arvidsson plus updates on Brian Dumoulin, Ryan Spooner and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators agreed to a new seven-year, $29.75 million contract with winger Viktor Arvidsson. The two sides took part in an arbitration hearing on Saturday but came to terms on a new deal before the arbiter reached a decision. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Arvidsson’s new contract carries an annual average value of $4.25 million, which is a significant pay raise over the $630K AAV of his previous deal. The 24-year-old enjoyed a breakout performance last season, tallying 31 goals and 61 points, tying the team lead in goals (with Filip Forsberg) and points (with Ryan Johansen). Should Arvidsson maintain that level of production, this contract will be considered another economical signing by Predators GM David Poile. 

NBC SPORTS: The Predators next order of business is re-signing forward Austin Watson, who’s scheduled for arbitration on Monday. Watson seeks a one-year deal worth $1.4 million and the Preds offered $700K. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin also has an arbitration hearing on Monday. The 25-year-old blueliner seeks a one-year contract worth $4.35 million. The Penguins countered with $1.95 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holy lowball, Batman, the Pens offer is almost insulting. Granted, it’s a significant raise over the $800K AAV Dumoulin earned on his previous contract, but he’s clearly worth more than $1.95 million. My guess is they’ll settle on a four-year deal worth $3.5 million per season, though it wouldn’t surprise me if this turns into a Colton Parayko situation where they agree to a long-term contract with an annual cap hit much higher than their proposed numbers. 

THE BOSTON GLOBE: The agent for Bruins forward Ryan Spooner indicates his client’s arbitration hearing could take place on Wednesday. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes avoided arbitration with forward Jordan Martinook, signing him to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $1.8 million.