Holden the first to go in Rangers firesale

The first piece is gone. Though I wouldn’t call trading Nick Holden to Boston that. He was always going to be the easiest player to move due to being cheap.

So, the Rangers sent the puck moving Holden to the Bruins in exchange for 24-year old minor league defenseman Rob O’Gara and a 2018 third round pick. A easy transaction by GM Jeff Gorton to his former team who looks to be the favorite to come out of the East.

While Rangers Twitter rejoices, a third round pick is what I expected for Holden. For all the criticism he received for not being strong defensively, he was good in his first year offensively scoring 11 goals and adding 23 assists for 34 points. Solid production for a skating D who only cost a fourth round pick. He struggled last postseason with Marc Staal. But they were far from alone. Hint hint. Ryan McDonagh and former partner Dan Girardi in blowing leads to Ottawa.

There’s also this reality fans and bloggers will ignore. Holden won’t be misused by Boston. Under Jack Adams candidate Bruce Cassidy, they have a good system in place and a actual legit top pair with ageless captain Zdeno Chara partnering with gifted rookie Charlie McAvoy.

The Bruins also have offensive minded Torey Krug and second-year right D Brandon Carlo. Basically, Holden won’t be miscast there. He can play third pair and not be overused like Alain Vigneault did by having him with McDonagh on the top pair.

It’s a good start for Gorton. The selloff has begun. Getting a third round pick and player even if its likely only a depth defenseman for Hartford is good asset management. Holden is lucky to go to such a good team. Boston is challenging Tampa for the Atlantic Division and top seed. Along with the red hot Pens, those three teams have separated themselves from a pack that includes the confusing Caps. A team I don’t buy into.

For the Blueshirts, who is the next domino to fall? Is it Rick Nash with Nashville said to be very interested? Or is it Michael Grabner, who is too sick to attend Casino Night? Probably Nash if the rumors are true. As for Grabner, he wished his former teammate well.

That’s the difference between players and fans. They respect the work their teammates put in. That should be remembered.

As far as the on ice product, don’t expect it to get any better until the coaching staff is gone. With young players from Hartford including the struggling Tony DeAngelo, there will continue to be growing pains. Does Ryan Graves finally get a chance or is that not allowed? Don’t answer.

Until the next trade is made. Less than a week left.


About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included two stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil games. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has scored Berkeley Carroll basketball games since 2006 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. From players, coaches to administrators, it's a first class program. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree.
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