Well we saw this one coming, sort of, maybe not to Boston, but I believe many if not most NHL fans perceived the Rangers as wanting to deal Nick Holden. With that said Nick Holden the Rangers (at the moment top two defensemen) has been traded to the Boston Bruins for a 3rd round pick and Rob O’Gara. No idea who O’Gara is, don’t worry I don’t think the Rangers do either. One thing to note about O’Gara before I move along to Holden. O’Gara played four years at Yale University, totaling 133 games played, 55 points, he was drafted in 2011 in the fifth round. O’Gara spent the last two season with the Providence Bruins whilst being called up and down for the Bruins. He’s played 107 AHL games with 21 points while playing 11 NHL games over the last two seasons. Nothing that will blow you away here, but O’Gara is 24-years-old and his time to be a regular at the NHL level is coming to a close, crazy to say but 24, and only playing 11 NHL games is not the best sign as being a staple on any NHL roster. If O’Gara does not amaze the Rangers staff he may not see much NHL time during his career.
Nick Holden an undrafted defenseman…
Ok, now onto Holden. Holden before the trade was playing top-four defenseman minutes, with the Rangers injuries on the back end Holden was called upon a decent amount over the last month plus. He’s averaged around 18 minutes per game, and will probably be looking at a third pair and or healthy scratch role with Boston. Holden has 3 goals 9 assists in 55 games, with -3 rating, 14 PIMS, and 0 power play points. Essentially he lacks any sort of physicality to his game, provides very little help on the power play and will be slotted in and out of the lineup. Now, if you are the Rangers you have to be ecstatic to get a 3rd round pick for Holden, a defenseman who was undrafted, even better news the Rangers retained zero part of Holden’s 1.65 mil contract, who is also a UFA at the end of this season.
Holden played a total of 135 games with the Rangers, accumulating 46 points (14 goals, 32 assists). At best Holden was a fifth, sixth defenseman. When the Rangers received Holden he had high praise from his former club the Avalanche, but he never really panned out to be anything much nor did he show he can handle top-four minutes like the Avalanche said he could. Holden will be in a role he belongs, and will probably excel much more, for an undrafted defenseman with a career of 356 games at the NHL level with three different teams(played seven games with Columbus before going to Colorado) Holden is not a major disappointment. At 30-years-old the Bruins will probably not re-sign the defenseman and he will venture off to a team in need of a fifth borderline number four defenseman. Reminds me a bit of Michael Del Zotto, jumping from team to team over recent years and will not find a comfortable home for his whole career if I had to make any assumptions.
Where does Holden slot on the Bruins back end?
All in all it is a very solid deal for the Rangers and sort of weird for the Bruins, they already have Adam McQuaid, Matt Grezelcyk playing fine bottom pair minutes while Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, Zdeno Chara, Brandon Carlo are handling top-four minutes and it seems everything is going fine for the Bruins as they are one point out of the division lead. Where will Holden slot, guess that means you sit Grezelcyk or assign him to the AHL for the playoffs and add that “veteran presence” for Holden to step in and play more in the playoffs. Either way, this is a head-scratcher for me, and as a Bruins fan I’d love to hear your opinions, but as a Rangers fans, you have to be happy with the return of Holden and the beginning of the Rangers fire-sale.