The last of the expected players to go before Monday’s trade deadline went early this morning. Rick Nash was finally traded to the Bruins in a complicated deal due to Boston’s salary cap.
The Rangers did well getting back a 2018 first round pick, D prospect Ryan Lindgren, Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey and a seventh round pick. They had to take Beleskey’s contract and retain half of Nash’s remaining salary to make it work. That allowed GM Jeff Gorton to also receive the 26-year old Spooner, who has never quite developed into the player the Bruins envisioned. He is a restricted free agent this summer. There’s no guarantee he stays. He’ll center the fourth line for tonight’s game against the Red Wings on s special night.
The Rangers will finally honor Jean Ratelle by retiring his jersey. Long overdue for the great center of the G-A-G (goal a game) Line of those classic 70’s teams under coach Emile Francis. Ratelle, Rod Gilbert and Vic Hadfield tormented opponents with their chemistry and scoring prowess.
To hear my Dad tell it, they could’ve won the 1972 Stanley Cup had Ratelle been entirely healthy. He returned for the Final against Boston but wasn’t himself with just one assist in a crushing six-game series loss that saw Bobby Orr skate the Cup at MSG with my father present.
After all these years following the stunning blockbuster trade that sent Ratelle, Brad Park and Joe Zanussi to the Bruins in exchange for Phil Esposito and Carol Vadnais, Number 19 will finally be up where it belongs next to all the retired numbers including former teammates Gilbert, Ed Giacomin, Harry Howell and Andy Bathgate. Long overdue for the 77-year old legend whose 109 points (46-63-109) in only 63 games during ‘71-72 were single season franchise marks until Jaromir Jagr shattered the record with 123 (54-69-123) in ‘05-06.
Ratelle becomes the ninth Ranger to have his number retired joining Giacomin, Howell, Gilbert, Adam Graves, Brian Leetch, Mark Messier, Mike Richter and Bathgate.