BRIGHTON, Mass. — Rick Nash is able to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, but the Boston Bruins’ prized acquisition before the NHL trade deadline could remain with the Original Six franchise beyond the 2017-18 campaign.
“Yeah. I hope so,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said Monday afternoon when asked if the door is open for Nash to potentially stay past this season. “It’s not something we have discussed right away here, but hopefully he is happy integrating into our club and why we went out and got him, because I think he fits well.”
Nash was acquired from the New York Rangers on Sunday in exchange for forwards Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey, defenseman prospect Ryan Lindgren a 2018 first-round draft pick and a 2019 seventh-round draft pick.
Nash’s style of play suits the B’s, and in particular second-line center David Krejci. The veteran center’s top-tier playmaking ability has helped many of the league’s top power forwards maximize their offensive production, most notably Milan Lucic, Jarome Iginla and Nathan Horton. Nash, as a true power forward, should also benefit from playing with Krejci, who’s easily the best center the 33-year-old winger has ever played alongside.
“As a team, we weren’t successful (Sunday night), but I think Rick actually played pretty well,” Sweeney said. “And he realized that the puck possession game that he has and the scoring ability that he has, I think he is going to provide those things going forward.”
It’s very early in the process, but if Nash fits in well and boosts the team’s offense at even strength and/or the power play, it would be wise of management to at least consider bringing Nash back, dependent, as always, on the cost.
If the two sides were to go their separate ways in the summer, however, it certainly wouldn’t be the worst outcome for the Bruins because they didn’t give up any elite prospects or cornerstone NHLers to acquire Nash.