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Trade Coverage

Holden traded to Bruins by Rangers

O'Gara, third-round pick in 2018 NHL Draft go to Boston for defenseman

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

Nick Holden was traded to the Boston Bruins by the New York Rangers on Tuesday.

The Bruins bolstered their depth by sending their third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft and 24-year-old minor-league defenseman Rob O'Gara for Holden, a lefty defenseman who is 30 years old and had 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in 55 games with the Rangers this season.

Holden had 46 points (14 goals, 32 assists) in 135 games with the Rangers after they acquired him in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche on June 25, 2016. He has 107 points (35 goals, 72 assists) in 356 NHL games and can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

"We've been pretty obvious in the fact that we'd like to improve our left-side depth overall," Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said. "Very happy with the players and the way they've played, in particular Matt Grzelcyk and how he's come up and integrated into our group. We were on our 10th defenseman last year when we got into the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs, so if we're fortunate enough to get back in there now this year, then I think we needed to address it."

Video: Dan Rosen breaks down the Nick Holden trade

The Bruins play at the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; SNW, NESN, NHL.TV) and are scheduled to travel to Toronto on Wednesday. Holden will meet them there in advance of their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. It's not clear if he will play against the Maple Leafs.

Boston leads Toronto by three points for second place in the Atlantic Division.

The Bruins have been using Grzelcyk, a 24-year-old rookie, on the left side of their third pair with Adam McQuaid. Grzelcyk has 10 points (one goal, nine assist) in 39 games. He will play his 39th consecutive game Tuesday and he's averaging 15:50 of ice time per game.

"To his credit, to the credit of the team, to put him in there and [coach] Bruce [Cassidy] and [assistant] Kevin [Dean] to trust him, he's responded, he's a big part of our group," Sweeney said. "Nobody should be looking over their shoulder. Just realize how imperative it is to be a deep team. We've said it all along that we want to be a deeper, more talented team, and [Grzelcyk] is a big part of that."

Holden played 18:58 per game, including 2:03 on the penalty kill, for the Rangers. He played primarily in a top-pair role on his off side (the right side) with Ryan McDonagh this season.

Video: The guys discuss the Bruins trade for Nick Holden

Sweeney said Holden can play on the power play but hasn't done much of that this season (5:09 total power play ice time). He averaged 36 seconds per game with the man-advantage last season and 1:24 per game with the Avalanche from 2014-16 (160 games).

"He certainly is helped coming into a veteran defense corps on a team that is playing well," Cassidy said. "But I don't know until he gets here. If he's played man-on-man and we're not a man-on-man team, we're layers, that could be an adjustment for him at first. 

"Until he gets out there and plays, we don't know and we don't know who his best [defense] partner for him will be. We don't know. There is a lot of unanswered questions. What we do know is that he can play in the League. We do know that, which will make us a better club when he gets here."

The Rangers have seven picks in the 2018 draft, including one in the first round, one in the second and two in the third. They could acquire more if they trade forwards Rick Nash, Michael Grabner and David Desharnais, who each can become an unrestricted free agent after the season.

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