Rangers acquire defenseman Nick Holden from Colorado

Nick Holden

The Rangers have acquired defenseman Nick Holden from Colorado in exchange for a 2017 4th round pick.┬áThe 6’4″, 210 lb defenseman put up 6-16-22 in 81 games with the Avs this past year while posting pretty solid possession numbers on a bad team. The 29-year-old defenseman has two years remaining on his deal at $1.65 million per season.

The deal is interesting, as it seems to foreshadow a move to come on the left side of the defense. While the Rangers are going to be unable to replace the production of Keith Yandle, Holden is a quality defenseman, if under appreciated in Colorado.

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Holden is a solid skater who moves the puck well. His puck movement abilities show up in his shot generation numbers above, and while he’s not the best at suppressing shots –meaning defensive zone play– he’s not terrible either. He’s the type of low key defenseman that helps get the puck out of the zone, something the Rangers struggled with mightily all last season.

This is a very shrewd move by Jeff Gorton, and one that may foreshadow the end of the Marc Staal era in New York. With Ryan McDonagh and Brady Skjei solidified in top-four roles, Holden comes in cheap for that bottom pairing. There is likely more to come from the Rangers.

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    • McDonagh would fetch big return, but currently he is the Rangers most offensive dman and happens to wear the C.

      • Agree Bloomer, but it depends on the return. For the right return, to me, everyone is tradeable. The fact that he wears the C to me won’t matter if a big trade can be had that helps the team.

        • To me it’s not about him being the C, but he has such a reasonable cap hit for a top pair two way d man. A team in cap hell should not want to trade him.

          • I don’t want to trade him. He probably doesn’t get traded. But if someone wants to blow the Rangers away with an offer……

          • Btw, I have the same thought about Stepan. I do not want him traded. But if there’s a chance to get Stamkos and someone wants to overpay for Step, then got to do it!

    • I was just thinking that Alec. Unlikely, but if you want to talk about a blockbuster, then you trade McDonagh for futures and affordable depth players, then go all in and get Stamkos. Not saying I’m advocating for that, but certainly possible.

      • I’d rather have Draisaitl and then be able to dangle Hayes or maybe Brassard to shore up the right side of the D and get out from under the cap. Not for Stamkos, just to be able to have deadline flexibility without doing a Tonya Harding on Girardi or Staal.

  • I like this move, Holden is a useful steady defencemen who can log minutes. Marc Staal is gone or is Skjei not ready for primetime?

  • A quality move from the GM. Always liked Holden. Kills penalties too.

    If they find a way to move Staal, A+.

  • Pat Leonard just tweeted that his report that the Rangers were dangling Staal and Girardi were apparently incorrect. Doesn’t mean conversations weren’t initiated by other teams, but apparently the Rangers are not actively pursuing anything in terms of unloading them….or so they say.

    • “the Rangers are not actively pursuing anything in terms of unloading them”

      It just seems so crazy to see it in writing like that. Betting the season on both of these guys having bounce back careers?

      • I’m not sure I would phrase it that way. I’m sure if they felt a deal was doable, they would do it. Remember, you have to find a team with cap room that would value one of them AND it would need to be a team they want to go to. And the fact is, there may be NO team they are willing to go to.

        And I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect two players who will be 30 and 32 respectively who were part of one of the best defenses in the league just 14 months ago to have a bounce back. To what degree of course is the question.

        • Here’s hoping. Old man Hank needs better support this year from the guys playing in front of him!

  • Great to see my boy Eddie posting again. All this talk about defense man and no one mentions the man I see as being our anchor the D end for the next decade. With all these moves Bloggers please chime in on what the future holds for Dylan Mcllrath .

    • HI Bobby! Hope your summer is going great!

      McIlrath I think is a low priority. He could be part of the future, but seriously, on the Rangers top 5 list of things to do, getting McIlrath signed is about number 8 on that list. It all depends on how the other dominoes fall.

      Since we haven’t had a chance to chat since the Pens won it all, I am intersted in your thoughts on the Pens winning the Cup. They certainly didn’t win by playing overly physical hockey. In fact, you can make the case that in the East, the two LEAST physical teams made it to the Conference Finals. I still believe that high level skill will trump size and physicality all day, any day, especially in this day and age.

      Now, I’m not saying there isn’t more to McIlrath’s game than that. The more I saw of the kid, the more I liked. Maybe he takes a big step forward next year. Who knows? But while I like him, I just don’t see the same upside that you and others see. I just don’t know if his skill set is all that great. And I’m not sure that the Rangers front office see him as a priority.

      Time will tell my friend.

      • Eddie, can not argue with you on your comments. The Pens were a spectacular team that used SPEED as their ultimate weapon. No coincidence that after the Hagelin trade they really took off. It seemed no matter who they played ( Rangers,Tampa, Caps, of Sharks) they had everybody on their HEELS. That being said it was their fleet of foot forwards ( because of their SPEED) that made them go, their Dmen were average ( save for Letang & Daley) , all they had to do was make that 1st pass,and it was off to the races. I still say you need a Banger/Intimidating DEFENSEMAN on the blue line ( who can be average) but will keep the other side honest. Mcllrath fits that bill. I just hope AV gives him a legit shot as a regular dressed player every night. They trade for Holden, we still have Staal & Giradi ( who must be moved) , if this team is ever going to be steered in the right direction.

        • Pitt won the cup because they had a coach who provided a plan and leadership. They were not the best team but they won because their coach got them all to buy in. Who can forget that between periods shot of Sullivan talking earnestly and at length to Crosby and then patting him ontheback at the end. That’s coaching my friend.

        • As for DMAC, I believe he is not even near his upper skill set. What he needs are reps on the ice under game conditions, but when you have a coach who microanalyzer every mistake of some but not others, it,s like a salmon swimming upstream. Time will tell but I believe DMAC is far more skilled than most on here believe. Confidence is everything and he’s already reached the stage where he knows he’s an NHL player. If he’s not accorded full time status this year by AV then they might as well trade him, since tumor has it that physicality has no place in hockey anymore.

          • Right on Pauly, I know this is talked about constantly, Mcllrath is just not the type of player AV covets. He would have taken Raffie Diaz ( a journey men AHL player) at the start of the season if not for Diaz getting injured. That concerns me big time, Now we get Nick Holden and still have the ball and chain ( Staal & Girardi) This gives AV an excuse to bury Mcllrath. I hope I am wrong ,the only way to shut everyone up is for Mcllrath to have an outstanding camp and preseason, the kid is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential. I see the 2nd coming of Mark Tinordi/Jeff Buekaboom right in front of us, I hope AV & GORTON SEE’S IT TOO??

    • I personally would like to give McIlrath some more time. I just look at all the progress he made after his major knee injury and wonder how much potential he might left; how much the injury may have set him back on a natural course he is now back on. Wouldn’t be the first defenseman to continue blooming well into his mid 20s. He’s never going to be a modern style defenseman of course, obviously never going to be a top two guy…but when he hits, it seems it often counts, unlike Glass’s well documented ineffective hits for example. I most certainly wouldn’t commit to him long term at this stage, and he has no power in arbitration. So I say while he’s cheap, give him another year or two if it doesn’t hurt other plans. I also on the other hand will not be surprised or crushed if he is dealt.

      • I’m basically with you on this Eg. I’m curious as well. There are just so many moving parts right now that it’s uncertain how and if he fits. We should know soon on all the RFAs.

  • Just reported….Rangers and Maple Leafs both interested in Matt Martin. Whether or not they get him, it certainly suggests the Rangers are not planning to sit out the free agent market, and also suggests some big deals are coming. Should be a fascinating next few weeks!

    • That makes sense, with Yandle gone, the Rangers should have about $4M in cap space after signing their RFAs to fill out their 4th line. If Martin wants to sign for a $2M cap hit, I’ll take him. Sign Hrivik for about $1M and find a 4C for that last $1M.

      Once that’s done, you try and move either of the Chuckle Brothers on the blue line for non-roster assets and use that cap savings to fill out the rest of the Blue Line.

    • I heard this yesterday from somewhere too, I think one of the Twitter NHL Rumors (there’s like 5 different ones with similar names I look at, never can keep them straight). I’m not huge on Martin but not hardcore opposed either. I guess if the price is right and depending on other moves, I’d be okay with it…but if I was Gorton I don’t think he’d be very far up my priority list right this moment. He has had four seasons of 78 games or more out of the last five, which I like to see. And hey, if we got him and that would ensure Glass gets a long vacation in Hartford, well then, by all means. Just with AV and his playing favorites, can’t bank on that. Would love to see Gorton force his hand though.

    • Eddie, now we are talking , give me the Matt Martins of the world, he is a bigger,faster more complete version of Tanner Glass who I would love to have in a Ranger jersey. Type of player the opposition hates to play against. I hope the rumors are true. I do worry about Toronto being in the mix, they have all the cards in place to turn things around BIG time, I now Stamkos is a Toronto native and he and Matt Martin were line mates in juniors. Could be The Leafs making huge announcements on July 1st.

  • Upon full review…I like this move. Talked to my Ducks fan buddy who has seen more of him, he says Holden was a little bit underrated in COL. Remembers him being pretty tough. He’s not a small dude, haha. For now, I think this is a smart move at the moment. And glad SOMETHING was done!

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