When the free agent market opens on Sunday, Rick Nash will be sitting on the sidelines as he ponders his future.
The 34-year-old Nash, who will be an unrestricted free agent July 1, hasn’t decided if he wants to continue his playing career, per several reports. His agent, Joe Resnick, told TSN’s Darren Dreger on Thursday that he won’t be accepting offers until Nash makes up his mind. He was already drawing interest from several teams.
Nash, who was traded to the Bruins in February after spending his NHL career with the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers, has scored 437 goals and recorded 805 points in 1,060 career games. He has also suffered several concussions, including one at the end of the 2017-18 regular season. The concussion issue is something that’s reportedly playing a factor in his decision whether to pursue another contract.
Last week, Nash told Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman, “weighing all options of where I want to pick up the family and move to. My main goal is to the win the Cup.” That’s a similar message that Resnick gave to Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, who would be interested in the forward if he chooses to play again and the timing is right.
“Whenever Rick makes his decision for his own future, we’ll probably be open to continue [talks],” said Sweeney via Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe. “The time’s in his court at this stage to initiate whatever talks he wants, wherever he wants to go. I think he strongly indicated that Boston would be a place he would consider, as would we.”
While the Devils don’t know yet if Taylor Hall will sign an extension to remain in New Jersey or find a new home next summer in free agency, GM Ray Shero has young locked down one of the team’s core pieces.
On Friday, Nico Hischier agreed to a seven-year, $50.75 million extension that carries a $7.25 million cap hit through the 2026-27 NHL season. The deal buys three unrestricted free agent years since the Devils forward has been playing since he was 18, per Cap Friendly.
According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, the first year of the deal is the only one that features a signing bonus — $3 million. His salary gradually increases year-by-year from $4 million in 2020-21 to capping at $8.5 million in the final season. The extension also features a modified no-trade clause in the final three years.
In 157 NHL games, Hischier, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, has 37 goals and 101 points while averaging over 17 minutes a night. His offense has been just fine with a 20 and 17 goals in his first two seasons, but his two-way game is what’s really boosted his talent.
Darren Helm and Elias Lindholm had a little battle in the third period of Thursday’s 5-1 Flames win and it has resulted in a $5,000 fine for the Red Wings forward.
It all began during a face-off when Lindholm got taken down by Helm. The Flames forward took exception and skated after Helm as the puck entered the Calgary zone. The tiff continued on with Lindholm throwing an elbow at Helm, who responded by getting up off the ice and slashing Lindholm in the back of the leg.
“Their guy comes with an elbow that should have probably been called right away,” said Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill. “Then Darren reacts to that as most guys would, you get an elbow to the face for no reason you’re going to react. We got to be more disciplined in those situations, but he slashed him. I don’t think the slash was that super-hard, but it sure looked hard the way he went down.”
The fine is the maximum amount allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Helm was given a major for slashing and a game misconduct, while Lindholm got off with just an interference minor. Lindholm was helped to the dressing room and there’s been no update yet on his condition.
With Thursday being the 20th anniversary of the opening of the arena, which featured a Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band concert back in 1999, the Kings wanted to do something special, so they went and shattered the previous record of 342, per the team.
“Yeah, I’m playing tonight. It’s been a long time. I’m very excited,” Kempny said. “There was a lot of hard days, especially from the beginning of the rehab, small steps make me happy. I think it’s part of rehab and all the bad is behind me and I’m just focusing now [on] today’s game.”
Kempny knows he won’t be logging heavy minutes just yet and wants to focus on getting back into the normal routine of a regular player. How his ice time is managed will be something his head coach has to worry about.
“We have a range we’d like to have him in and we’ll see how the game goes,” said Todd Reirden. “Obviously he’s fresh, he’s skating really well, he’s in unbelievable condition, so now it’s just to see how it transfers into game action and how his wind is and his conditioning.”