Now that the Boston Bruins have lost out on Ilya Kovalchuk, will they turn to Rick Nash to assume winger duties on the second line?
Well, it’s complicated.
Nash, who scored six goals in 23 total games (including playoffs) for the Bruins last season after being acquired via trade with the New York Rangers, is set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1. But the 34-year-old, who’s had multiple concussions in his career, including one that plagued him down the stretch and into the playoffs last season, isn’t sure whether he wants to continue playing, according to Bruins general manager Don Sweeney.
“Nash, according to Sweeney, continues to say through agent Joe Resnick that he isn’t sure if he wants to continue his career,” The Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont wrote Saturday.
Despite all of Nash’s red flags, including his somewhat underwhelming performance in Boston, Sweeney hasn’t closed the door on re-signing the power forward.
“Whenever Rick makes his decision for his own future, umm … we’ll probably be open to continue (contract talks),” Sweeney told Dupont. “The time’s in his court at this stage to initiate whatever talks he wants, wherever he wants to go. I think he strongly indicated that Boston would be a place he would consider, as would we.”
The uncertainty surrounding Nash obviously puts the Bruins in a tough spot, as roster retooling already has begun, and free agents can begin signing in a week. Although there is plenty of mutual interest between the two parties, it’s possible that Nash simply waits too long before informing Boston of his plans.
“The timing of his decision may or may not line up,” Sweeney said. “But obviously we’ll be in touch with his camp.”
Given the emergence of the Bruins’ young stars last season, many expected any holes in Boston’s roster to be filled by members of the youth movement. But the pursuit of Kovalchuk, dialogue with Nash and potential interest in superstar John Tavares suggest the Bruins are going all-in on a Stanley Cup run next season.
And that has to be music to Bruins fans’ ears, even if they’re lukewarm on the team’s free agency strategy.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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