By: Lucas Salvatore | Check me out on Twitter @lsalvatore29
Rick Nash has been a welcomed addition to the Boston Bruins since arriving in late February but with plenty of young talent on the rise will the Bruins retain the power forward?
Nash was the most significant acquisition for the Bruins this trade deadline the deal was as follows.
Pretty big price to pay for a rental player as Ryan Spooner was having the best statistical year of his career posting 0.69 points per game which is a 0.08 increase from his career high season in 2015-16. Spooner then went on to score sixteen points in twenty games with the New York Rangers to end the season and finally seems to thrive at a top six center position which the Bruins could never offer.
Rick Nash, on the other hand, was brought in to give a brand new winger to longtime Bruin centermen David Krejci as fans may remember the constant roulette wheel of wingers Krejci has had to deal with over the last few seasons.
Now Krejci has finally gotten consistent linemates this season finding great chemistry alongside rookie Jake DeBrusk and newly acquired Rick Nash so a case must be made to why the Bruins should at least look into the options of seeing this trio play for a full NHL season.
Rick Nash was drafted 1st overall in 2002 by the Columbus Blue Jackets. While playing for the Jackets, Rick was named the captain of the squad and remained the leader until being traded to the Rangers in the summer of 2012. In his 15 NHL season, Rick has hit the forty goal mark three times and reached over thirty goals five times. Nash also won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy in the 2003-04 season as the league’s top goal scorer. Nash is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist for Canada.
Since arriving in Boston Nash has posted six points in eleven games. The power forward had flashes of brilliance which were short-lived when he suffered a concussion on March 17th in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Nash has since returned to the Bruins line-up for the start of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs and has not missed a beat so far. While he only has one goal, Nash has been a presence with his physical play and really sets the pace for the Bruins second line giving them more offensive depth throughout the line-up.
Here is what Boston cap situation looks like heading into the offseason.
With over 9 million dollars in cap space, it will be interesting how Don Sweeney evens out the money this offseason. Players due for a raise include Riley Nash, Tim Schaller, Matt Grzelcyk, Sean Kuraly and Anton Khudobin. While Rick Nash will not be getting a raise based on recent years of performance and age, it would be interesting to see if he is willing to take a two-year deal at around 4 to 4.5 million dollars per season to remain in Boston.
Time will tell Rick is not getting any older and rumors for him to return to the Rangers in the offseason continue to rise. So fans should not be surprised if Rick packs his bags and returns to the big apple next season, but one would think if he wants to compete for a Stanley Cup Boston would be a great option.
With such a small sample size of what Rick Nash can do look for this playoff run to be a pivotal part of how the Bruins go into these negotiations. Rick has been known as a playoff passenger for his entire career if he can somehow be a crucial part of this run look for Don Sweeney and his team to be more engaged in trying to get a deal done before July 1st, 2018.
If Rick Nash does not resign Bruins fans should forget about him as many fans seem to have forgotten that Anders Bjork will return next season from shoulder surgery and should be the leading candidate to replace Nash if he does decide not to return.
Playing most of his minutes alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand to start his NHL career Anders Bjork seemed to have all the skills to develop into a top-six forward. A loss of confidence gave him a one-way ticket to the AHL where Anders could work on his skills before being brought back to the parent club. After returning to the NHL and playing a few games, Anders suffered an injury against the Anaheim Ducks which ended his season.
Next season Anders should be more motivated to stick into the Bruins lineup having a taste of what it takes to play in the NHL. Moving him alongside Krejci and DeBrusk if needed could open up more scoring opportunities for him, his high hockey IQ and elite shooting ability should make him lethal with a playmaker like David Krejci and the grinding machine that is Jake DeBrusk.
Ryan Donato should be looked at as a potential candidate to put alongside Krejci. Many options could be seen at that spot, but fans should expect if both Nash’s do leave Donato could be looking at the third line center position when the puck drops next season.
Other potential dark horse candidates include Zach Senyshyn and Peter Cehlarik.
So the Bruins do have options going into next season. The best option would be to try and resign Rick Nash for at least a few more seasons considering the price Don Sweeney paid. A full year of DeBrusk-Krejci-Nash would be a lot of fun to see, Rick looks like a player that was born to wear the black and gold and the fans should be rewarded with a few more years of Rick Nash.
If the Bruins fall short in resigning him, it should not seem like the end of the world for Bruins fans, while the price will sting even more the talent coming up from Providence should have fans smiling in no time.
Should the Bruins Resign Rick Nash or let others a chance to shine next season? Let us know what you think.