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NHL

Rick Nash unsure if he’ll play next season because of health

One of the biggest names in NHL free agency has informed teams he’s not on the market.

Rick Nash, 34, is taking time to contemplate whether to play in the 2018-19 season due to health considerations, according to his agent, Joe Resnick.

While Resnick wouldn’t confirm what the health considerations were, Nash has suffered several reported concussions during his NHL career, most recently in March as a member of the Boston Bruins. He missed six weeks with concussion symptoms in 2013 while with the Rangers.

Nash is an unrestricted free agent after having completed his eight-year, $62.4-million deal that kicked in back in 2010. He’s been considering his NHL future since the end of the season, which saw Nash traded from the New York Rangers to the Boston Bruins in a deadline blockbuster.

While with the Bruins, Nash had three goals and three assists in 11 regular-season games, and three goals and two assists in 12 playoff games. The left wing has 437 goals and 368 assists in 1,060 career games. He’s fourth among active players in goals scored behind Jaromir Jagr, Alex Ovechkin and Patrick Marleau.

Resnick said Nash decided to inform teams of his cloudy future in an effort to be upfront about his conflict, rather than ink a large contract halfheartedly. He had been linked with several teams, including the Bruins and the team that drafted him, the Columbus Blue Jackets.


“Rick has the utmost ethics and integrity,” Resnick told ESPN on Thursday. “We turned down a lot of money. Let’s put it that way.”

There has been speculation that Nash would sit out the summer free agent frenzy and return to the NHL later in the season, perhaps when there’s more clarity on which teams are contending for the Stanley Cup and which ones aren’t. Resnick denied that’s the case.

“I know some individuals have stated that he might not pick a team until January or February. No … he’s undecided at this point [about playing at all],” he said.

Nash’s decision adds some uncertainty to the Bruins’ offseason plans. After being spurned by free agent Ilya Kovalchuk, who signed with the Los Angeles Kings, Nash was seen as a fallback position to be their second-line winger.

To acquire Nash, the Bruins anted up Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey, Ryan Lindgren and Boston’s first-round pick, which the Rangers used to trade up and take Wisconsin defenseman K’Andre Miller. As it stands, they got 23 games and 11 points for that bounty.


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