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Nash traded to Bruins by Rangers

Forward says Boston 'has great chance to win'; Spooner, Beleskey, draft picks to New York

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Rick Nash was traded to the Boston Bruins from the New York Rangers on Sunday for forwards Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey, defenseman Ryan Lindgren, Boston's first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft and its seventh-round pick in 2018.

Nash, a 33-year-old forward, started his Bruins career at right wing on the second line with center David Krejci and left wing Jake DeBrusk, taking Spooner's spot on the line, and had five shots on goal in 17:27 of ice time in a 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.

The Bruins (37-15-8, 82 points) are one point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic Division and five behind the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning.

Nash is in the final season of an eight-year contract and can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. He had 28 points (18 goals, 10 assists) in 60 games with the Rangers this season and has 799 points (434 goals, 365 assists) in 1,049 games in 15 NHL seasons.

"It was a strange last few weeks in New York, but I'm moved on," Nash said. "I'm excited for this opportunity and excited to be a Bruin."

 

[RELATED: Nash trade moves bar higher for Bruins | Behind the Numbers: Nash trade]

 

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, who called Nash one of the best 200-foot forwards he has coached, inserted Spooner in the lineup Sunday. The 26-year-old had two assists in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings.

The Rangers have lost seven consecutive games and are last in the Metropolitan Division, seven points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. 

Spooner has 27 points (nine goals, 18 assists) in 40 games this season.

"What I see is a real good skater, good hands, very good on the power play," Vigneault said. "He can play all three positions. … We'll give him a good look here and see what he can do, but everything I've heard has been real positive."

Beleskey, who has been playing for Providence in the American Hockey League, will remain in the AHL and play for the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Rangers' affiliate. Lindgren is in his sophomore season at the University of Minnesota.

Video: Daneyko and Whitney react to the Rick Nash trade

The Bruins also signed forward Brian Gionta, 39, to a one-year contract worth $700,000 on Sunday. Between Gionta and Nash, the Bruins added two forwards who have played in a combined 189 NHL playoff games.

"I think Rick Nash brings a little different dimension to that line in puck protection and ability to get to the hard areas when really the season becomes even harder to get there," Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said. "Hopefully, David will have some juice as a result of this and that line in general will find a way to finish a few more goals, and more importantly continue to play well defensively, which Rick has played in the past."

It was not a surprise to Nash, who had known since the beginning of the month that he likely was going to be traded before the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline, which is Monday at 3 p.m. ET. 

Nash confirmed Feb. 5 that he submitted his list of 18 teams where he could block a trade according to the terms of his contract. Three days later, Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton and president Glen Sather announced in a press conference and in a letter to fans that the Rangers were going to be looking toward the future and any moves they made would not be to save the current season.

Nash, whose list left New York 12 teams as potential trading partners, said Boston was at the top of his destination wish list. He heard the buzz about the potential trade to the Bruins on Saturday and found out at 8:30 a.m. ET Sunday that it went through.

"When [the Rangers] first asked me [for my list], I would obviously go wherever, I wasn't going to hold them hostage or anything like that," Nash said. "But I wanted to go to a place that wanted me and had a great chance to win. I think Boston fits both those perfectly."

Nash joins defenseman Nick Holden and forward Michael Grabner as pending unrestricted free agents the Rangers have traded in advance of the deadline. 

Holden was traded to the Bruins for a third-round pick in 2018 and defenseman Rob O'Gara on Tuesday. Grabner was traded to the New Jersey Devils for a second-round pick in 2018 and defenseman Yegor Rykov on Thursday.

New York now has nine picks in the 2018 draft, including two in each of the first three rounds.

Tweet from @NYRangers: Nasher, thank you for 6 memorable years as a part of our #NYR family. We cheered 145 Nashty goals and together we celebrated your career milestones, including your 400th goal and 1000th game.Once a Ranger, always a Ranger.We salute you! pic.twitter.com/1ylpHP8v0z

There have also been reports the Rangers could trade defenseman Ryan McDonagh, their captain who will miss his ninth straight game with an upper-body injury Sunday, and forward Mats Zuccarello before the deadline. Each has one year remaining on his contract.

In addition, center David Desharnais, who could become an unrestricted free agent July 1, could be traded.

One player who won't be traded is goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who said management has not contacted him about waiving the no-movement clause in his contract. Lundqvist said he wouldn't waive it if asked.

"I love this franchise and everything they do," Lundqvist said. "Everything they do for the players. Everything they've given me over almost 13 years now. I just can't see myself anywhere else. I really can't. I hope this is something that I will learn from and the rest of us will learn from, what we're going through right now. And then I hope we're going to be a very competitive team really soon."

Nash had 252 points (145 goals, 107 assists) in 375 games with the Rangers, who acquired him in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets on July 23, 2012. 

He helped New York reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2014 and get to the Eastern Conference Final in 2015. Nash had 38 points (14 goals, 24 assists) in 73 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Rangers.

"It was unbelievable," Nash said of his nearly six full seasons with the Rangers. "It's a great city. You get to play at MSG every single night. I wouldn't trade it for anything."

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