By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Boston Bruins deadline addition and pending unrestricted free agent Rick Nash remains undecided on his playing future and will forego the July 1 signing period, agent Joe Resnick told TSN’s Darren Dreger on Thursday.
The most recent update on the 34-year-old Nash’s status comes just days before the official start of unrestricted free agency, and with multiple teams (including the Bruins) reportedly interested in signing the veteran winger to a contract.
Acquired from the New York Rangers in February in exchange for Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey (with 50 percent of his $3.9 million yearly salary retained), defensive prospect Ryan Lindgren, a 2018 first-round pick, and 2019 seventh-round pick, Nash was an immediate fit on Boston’s second line. Skating with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk, the 6-foot-4 Nash got on the board early, with three goals and six points — and some dominant possession numbers — through his first 11 games in town. Nash’s presence gave the Bruins two — sometimes even three — legitimately threatening scoring lines down the stretch.
But Nash’s run came to a screeching halt on a high hit along the boards from Tampa Bay forward Cedric Paquette on Mar. 17.
Absent for the final 11 games of the regular season due to a concussion, Nash ultimately returned for the postseason. But as the postseason came and went with a limited scoring impact from Nash, No. 61 didn’t quite look like himself.
Even with time off and a tinted visor, Nash admitted that he dealt with side effects upon his return.
“It’s unfortunate he got banged up near the end of the season there, and it really took him a while to get back, and I don’t think he was himself,” B’s president Cam Neely said last month. “He said that during the exit meetings, that he wasn’t quite himself. It’s disappointing because we felt we had a guy that was really going to help our secondary scoring and that line and help David [Krejci] get going in some offensive situations. You could see the big body and how he protects the puck and how good he is in the corners and along the walls, but he just wasn’t quite himself after coming back from that injury.”
It’s presently unclear what impact this will have on the Black and Gold’s summer plans.
The Bruins are obviously all in on John Tavares at the moment, but likely considered bringing Nash back a solid backup plan. But with that uncertainty over Nash’s future, it would be excruciatingly painful (and risky) for Sweeney to sit around and ultimately hope that Nash reaches out and expresses an interest while other names fly off the board through free agency.
Ty Anderson is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.