The New York Rangers must move Nick Holden
It has been said that “too much of a good thing can be bad,” and the New York Rangers are experiencing that first hand. There has been much to do about the lack of depth at the center position. There has been mention of the top four defensemen, and there have been rumors of Nick Holden being on the move. While Tyler Bozak has been mentioned as a target, and places like Edmonton have been named as potential destinations, one fact remains; the New York Rangers cannot keep Nick Holden.
One of the most difficult parts of a general manager’s job is making trades. Trades need to make sense and they also have to benefit both teams. This is exactly why this article is not about Marc Staal. To trade Staal, the Rangers will either need to retain salary or find a team that has a gap big enough for a defenseman of Staal’s skill set; which can be left to interpretation.
Holden has value, but not all that much considering that the Avalanche traded him for a fourth round pick last offseason. He certainly is not the centerpiece standing between the Rangers and the center they need. He may not even yield a bottom six forward. The new NHL video game may be coming out soon, but this is real life and the team cannot trade a low-value player like Holden for a difference maker. However, they could trade him for a draft pick or picks, which would allow Jeff Gorton to continue retooling. Similar to the Brendan Smith deal, trading Holden for a pick (or two) now, could then yield a return of something much more valuable later.
There are potentially four players that are fighting for the spot Holden currently possesses. In other words, the team has depth at the blue line. The top four spots are filled for the foreseeable future, and Marc Staal will need a new partner before October hits.
Far From a Perfect Match
Holden quite honestly has value simply because he has a team friendly contract. It does not come from his play. Coming off his best season, Holden had some good moments with the Rangers. He started the season hot but cooled off fast as the year progressed. By the time the playoffs came around, he was a borderline liability on the ice.
If Holden doesn’t have Staal as his partner, he probably ends up playing better; and vice versa. Neither player is a traffic cone on the ice, however, neither possess the speed demanded by the system they play in. That is why the pairing was insufferable because neither player could make a mistake, or make up for their partner’s mistakes. Both are formidable third pair defensemen, just not together. If Staal has Anthony DeAngelo, a fast skating defenseman as his partner, I believe that Staal will show that he still has some game left in the tank
Addition by Subtraction
That may not seem possible to Dunder Mifflin’s regional manager Michael Scott, but the Rangers can absolutely improve by losing Holden. They cannot afford to allow four young and talented defensemen to compete for the sixth defense spot. When the calendar reads October 5th, Nick Holden needs to be wearing a sweater other than the Blueshirt.