Nash Shipped Up To Boston

Ian Gooding

2018-02-25

Rick Nash has been traded to the Boston Bruins.

The Boston Bruins have acquired Rick Nash from the New York Rangers. In return, the Rangers acquire  a first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, defenseman Ryan Lindgren, forwards Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey, and a seventh-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.

It took some creativity on the two teams’ part to make the deal work for the Bruins from a salary cap perspective.
 


Nash’s point-per-game production has declined over each of the last three seasons to the point where he is a sub-0.5 point-per-game winger. However, he is still on pace to reach 20 goals and over 200 shots on goal again. Although his shot total is still in the top-25 in the league, it’s fair to say the Bruins are acquiring a diminishing asset who over his career has moved all the way up the ranks to Band-Aid Treasurer. The Bruins have clearly moved all their chips into the middle on winning a Stanley Cup, as Nash is a UFA after this season.

The Bruins might have paid a ton for a rental, but they were actually able to kill two birds with one stone in this deal. They were also able to move Matt Beleskey’s salary, which is currently buried in the AHL. Ryan Spooner is a sensible gamble for the Rangers, as he will be an RFA at the end of the season and saw significant first-unit power-play minutes with the Bruins. Lindgren gives the Rangers much-needed organizational depth on the blueline, but his numbers won’t warrant attention in fantasy leagues (view his Dobber Prospects profile).

Here’s an early take on the deal from a Boston perspective from Bob McKenzie:
 


If Boston is swapping Spooner for Nash, it might be worthwhile to compare Nash and Spooner in some important fantasy categories (from Compare-A-Player).
 

 

Rick Nash

Ryan Spooner

Age

33

26

Games

60

39

Goals

18

9

Assists

10

16

Points

28

25

Points Per Game

0.47

0.64

PP Goals

3

1

PP Points

4

5

PP TOI/G

02:11

02:48

% Team's Ice Time

28.1%

23.9%

Plus/Minus

-8

10

Penalty Min

24

2

Hits

45

38

Blocks

37

12

Shots

189

70

Shooting %

9.52

12.86


This might make this deal look even better for the Rangers, particularly from a points-per-game perspective, although the Bruins receive a much better goal scorer. Nash’s 9.52 SH% (and 6.38% 5-on-5 SH%) is lower than normal, but part of that may be age related.

McKenzie also didn’t rule out the possibility of the Rangers flipping Spooner before the deadline. But assuming the Rangers keep Spooner, he could essentially swap places with Nash on the Rangers as well. Here are both players’ season line combinations, to give you an idea:

30.2%    NASH,RICK – ZIBANEJAD,MIKA – ZUCCARELLO,MATS

19.9%    HAYES,KEVIN – NASH,RICK – ZUCCARELLO,MATS

19.5%    BUCHNEVICH,PAVEL – NASH,RICK – ZIBANEJAD,MIKA

16.6%    FAST,JESPER – HAYES,KEVIN – NASH,RICK

13.9%    MILLER,J.T. – NASH,RICK – ZUCCARELLO,MATS

 

75.1%    DEBRUSK,JAKE – KREJCI,DAVID – SPOONER,RYAN

12.6%    BJORK,ANDERS – DEBRUSK,JAKE – SPOONER,RYAN

5.5%      BJORK,ANDERS – KREJCI,DAVID – SPOONER,RYAN

3.8%      MARCHAND,BRAD – PASTRNAK,DAVID – SPOONER,RYAN

3%          DEBRUSK,JAKE – NASH,RILEY – SPOONER,RYAN

So where Spooner fits in on the Rangers will be a little more unclear. He may even lose value in leagues that count power-play points, as he’s no guarantee to play on the Rangers’ first unit. On the flipside, he could earn more even-strength minutes on the Rangers. He was ninth among Bruins’ forwards with just 11:39 in EV TOI/GP.

However, Nash is more likely to move into Spooner’s spot on the Bruins’ first-unit power play, given that teams have used his shot there throughout his career. Also remember that teams usually provide the most opportunity to players they have invested the most in. Having said that, Danton Heinen could also move up to the first-unit power play, as he has excelled in that role when filling in there.

If Nash can stay on the David Krejci line instead of being moved around the lineup like he was in New York this season, better results could be in order for both players. Spooner wasn’t necessarily a goal scorer, so having Nash on that line could help both Nash’s goal total and Krejci’s assist total. The key will be whether the two can stay healthy.

 

Fantasy players this helps, in order:

Rick Nash

David Krejci

Danton Heinen

Jake DeBrusk

Fantasy players this hurts, in order:

No one

Jury’s still out:

Ryan Spooner

 

Fantasy owners are already weighing in at the Forum. Give your take here!

UPCOMING GAMES

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STARTING GOALIES

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HOT PLAYERS

  Players Team GP G A P
EVGENI MALKIN PIT 5 4 7 11
ADAM FOX NYR 4 1 6 7
JAKUB VORACEK PHI 6 0 10 10
NATHAN MACKINNON COL 5 2 6 8
MIKA ZIBANEJAD NYR 29 25 19 44
NIKITA KUCHEROV T.B 24 16 20 36
KEVIN FIALA MIN 11 9 7 16
KYLE CONNOR WPG 7 8 2 10
EVANDER KANE S.J 7 5 5 10
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS EDM 17 8 16 24

LINE COMBOS

  Frequency MTL Players
25.2% JOEL ARMIA JONATHAN DROUIN NICK SUZUKI
17% PHILLIP DANAULT BRENDAN GALLAGHER TOMAS TATAR
11.7% PAUL BYRON JESPERI KOTKANIEMI ARTTURI LEHKONEN

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