The New York Rangers traded forward Rick Nash to the Boston Bruins for forwards Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey and a first-round pick in the draft in June, the Rangers announced Sunday.
The Rangers also received a college defenseman, Ryan Lindgren, and Boston’s seventh-round pick in the 2019 draft. The Rangers had been expected for weeks to trade Nash, 33, who will become an unrestricted free agent after the season.
Nash scored a career-high 42 goals for the Rangers in the 2014-15 season, and had 145 goals in 375 games over six seasons in New York. He has 18 goals this season and was a healthy scratch the past two games.
The deal with the Bruins comes the same day the Rangers will honor Jean Ratelle, the Hall-of-Fame center whom they traded to Boston with defenseman Brad Park in 1975.
The Rangers publicly promised major roster changes in a letter to fans two weeks ago. They have since also traded Michael Grabner, their leading goal-scorer, to the New Jersey Devils and defenseman Nick Holden to the Bruins. The league’s trade deadline is 3 p.m. Monday.
Nash was acquired by the Rangers from Columbus in July 2012 in another major trade, in which the Rangers sent Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov to the Blue Jackets. Nash helped the Rangers reach the finals in 2014 where they lost in five games to the Los Angeles Kings.
The 6-foot-4 Nash was the first overall pick by the Blue Jackets in the 2002 draft. He reached the 30-goal mark in seven of his nine seasons with Columbus.
The Rangers will retain half of his remaining salary this season, TSN reported. Nash is making $7.8 million in the final year of an eight-year, $62.4 million contract. The Bruins will retain half of Beleskey’s contract after this season, when the 29-year-old forward will have two years left at $3.8 million per year, TSN said.
The Rangers, who lost six straight games heading into Sunday night’s game against Detroit, before which they will retire Ratelle’s No. 19, are almost certain to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
They are adding Spooner, a 26-year-old forward who has been with Boston his entire career. He has nine goals in 39 games this season and 41 goals in 253 games over parts of six seasons.
Beleskey has played for Anaheim and Boston. He has zero points in 14 games with the Bruins this season and has been with AHL Providence since December.
Lindgren, 20, was a second-round pick by the Bruins in 2016 and is playing for the University of Minnesota.
Spooner will be a restricted free agent after this season, as will Ranger forwards J.T. Miller and Kevin Hayes. The challenge to sign them all falls to Jeff Gorton, the Rangers’ general manager, who spent 15 years in Boston’s front office before joining the Rangers in 2007.
The Bruins are in the thick of the Atlantic Division playoff race. Adding Nash for the rest of the season to their roster, which includes leading scorers Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, could be a key gain as they vie to win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2011.
The sagging Rangers were 8 points behind Columbus for the final wild card spot before Sunday’s game. The Rangers have lost 13 of their last 16 games, falling from the playoff race.
The Rangers now have two picks in each of the first three rounds of the June draft. They also received the Bruins’ third-round pick with defenseman Rob O’Gara for Holden and acquired New Jersey’s second-round pick for Grabner.
Ryan McDonagh, the Rangers defenseman and captain who hasn’t played since a 6-1 loss to Boston on Feb. 7 because of an unspecified upper-body injury, has also been mentioned in trade rumors. His contract expires after next season.