Contrary to a rumor that broke late Monday night, current unrestricted free agent and former Bruins winger Rick Nash is not set on formally retiring, but does remain undecided about his playing future.
“There is no truth to the tweet that Rick Nash is retiring [Tuesday],” Joe Resnick, Nash’s agent and man who first broke the news that his client would forego the free agency period, said in a statement. “Our position has not changed since July 1.”
Acquired from the New York Rangers in exchange for five assets just before the league’s trade deadline, Nash slid into Boston’s second line and recorded three goals and six points in 11 games with the Bruins before a concussion sustained on a hit from the Lightning’s Cedric Paquette on Mar. 17 put an end to Nash’s regular season. The 6-foot-4 would return for the postseason, but was clearly not himself, and finished his postseason run with a disappointing three goals and five points in 12 games.
Citing health (Nash has a significant concussion history) with his aforementioned decision to skip free agency, it’s believed that Nash turned down multiple multi-year deals, including one that was rumored to be just shy of $20 million over three seasons. And speaking with The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline on Tuesday, Nash reiterated that his family and his health are the most important things in his life, and will be the deciding factor if and when he does decide to return to playing pro hockey.
“I miss it. I love the game,” Nash said Tuesday. “The game has been my whole life, so it’s been a hard adjustment to not show up for training camp, for fitness testing … it’s been really tough. But my family is what’s most important to me, and I have to get my health in the right spot before I figure out what my plans are, and I don’t know when that will be.
“There’s a chance I could get healthy, come back and be great. But there’s definitely a chance that I don’t.”
The Bruins and general manager Don Sweeney have seemingly left the door open for a possible Nash return, saying that they ‘respect the hell out of Nash’ no matter his decision, and the Bruins have over $5 million in available cap space right now. And Nash, for what it’s worth, seemed to enjoy his time with a true Stanley Cup contender in the Black and Gold, and most definitely filled a need for the Bruins as a net-front, chance-creating presence on their second line with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci.
“It was disappointing with having a concussion, and having some effects during it, and only playing a certain amount of games, and then coming back for the playoffs,” Nash said at B’s break-up day this past May. “But everything [in Boston] was positive. The organization was great, guys were awesome, so it was a great chapter here and hopefully it can continue.”
Nash, who’s most known for his nine-year run with the Columbus Blue Jackets, has 437 goals and 805 points in 1,060 NHL games.