The New York Rangers have traded forward Rick Nash to the Boston Bruins, the teams announced in a Sunday morning blockbuster. A 2018 first-round draft pick, defense prospect Ryan Lindgren and forwards Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey are included in the package headed to New York. The Rangers also agreed to retain 50 percent of Nash’s $7.8 million salary cap hit. Nash, 33, spent the past six seasons in New York after the Rangers acquired him via trade from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Over that time, Nash led all Rangers with 145 goals and 252 points in 375 games played. This season, he has 18 goals in 60 games. Nash is 18th in the NHL in goals since joining the Rangers. It comes as New York’s latest move heading into the Feb. 26 deadline, after the Rangers shipped forward Michael Grabner to the rival New Jersey Devils on Thursday.
Penguins pulled off a trade for Senators center Derick Brassard , one of the more coveted forwards available at this year’s NHL trade deadline. If only things were so simple. News of an agreement between Pittsburgh and Ottawa initially broke in the afternoon. Seven hours, six players, four draft picks and one NHL veto later, a three-team trade including the Golden Knights finally gained league approval. If you’re wondering, “What do the Golden Knights have to do with this?” well, that’s a good question. Vegas acquired Ryan Reaves and a 2018 fourth-round draft pick (via the Canucks) from the Penguins in exchange for retaining 40 percent of Brassard’s salary, which was necessary to fit him under Pittsburgh’s cap. Vegas also gave up forward prospect Tobias Lindberg as part of the deal. Basically, the Senators traded Brassard to the Knights, who in turn ate some cash before flipping the 30-year-old over to the Penguins.
Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford called this “the most complex trade I’ve made”. That’s what happens when you have to find a friend to help circumvent the salary cap. All told, Pittsburgh is the big winner in this trade. The Pens paid a high price (more on that below), but also received a 2018 third-round draft pick from Ottawa and a pair of forward prospects: Lindberg and Vincent Dunn. The bottom line is Rutherford got his guy. Brassard, 30, has 18 goals and 38 points in 58 games and is under contract through 2018-19, should the Penguins find a way to keep him. He’s a bonafide second-line center who slots in behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, which shouldn’t be fair. Filling that spot has been a season-long mission after losing Nick Bonino and Matt Cullen in free agency. Like clockwork, Rutherford managed an upgrade through Brassard and the trade for Riley Sheahan earlier this year.
Brandon Davidson was traded to the New York Islanders by the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton received a third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. Davidson, a 26-year-old defenseman, has five points (three goals, two assists) in 36 games this season. He can become a restricted free agent July 1. The Islanders are tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Davidson said: “It’s a great oppotunity for me, going into a playoff run with those guys. It’s tough to say goodbye, but on a good note, I think the playoff run is going to be awesome for me”. Selected by Edmonton in the sixth round (No. 162) of the 2010 NHL Draft, Davidson has 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 137 NHL games. He was traded by the Montreal Canadiens to the Oilers for David Desharnais on Feb. 28, 2017, one day before the NHL Trade Deadline last season. Davidson added: “It’s a little easier transition the second time around. I know how to deal with it, I know how to handle myself and I’m excited to put my best foot forward. I started to play some of my best hockey over the last month and maybe that is something [the Islanders have] seen”.
The Toronto Maple Leafs announced they have acquired veteran center Tomas Plekanec from the Montreal Canadiens. The trade will have Montreal sending Plekanec and forward Kyle Baun to Toronto in exchange for defenseman Rinat Valiev, winger Kerby Rychel and Toronto’s second-round pick in the 2018 draft. The Canadiens will retain 50 percent of Plekanec’s salary (the maximum allowed). With the Canadiens retaining half of Plekanec’s salary, that still leaves Toronto with $6MM in cap space to work with, meaning they could still add another piece if they choose to do so. Toronto Sun’s Lance Hornby writes the team is interesting in acquiring New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh.