New York Rangers: A Trade for Ryan Spooner Makes Sense

Mar 15, 2017; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Boston Bruins center Ryan Spooner (51) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 15, 2017; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Boston Bruins center Ryan Spooner (51) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

With Derek Stepan shipped to Arizona and Oscar Lindberg lost in the expansion draft, the New York Rangers have spots at center they need to fill. Boston Bruins center Ryan Spooner can help fill that void.

While it’s expected Mika Zibanejad, Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller will step up down the middle, the New York Rangers will still be in the market for another center. Once a strength, the Rangers depth at center is now a concern.

With the free agent market also thin, the Rangers need to look at the trade market. At just 25 years old, Ryan Spooner makes perfect sense.


Spooner was drafted by the Bruins in the second round, 45th overall, in the 2010 NHL entry draft. He was called up for the first time in the 2012-2013 season but didn’t break out until the 2015-2016 season, his first full season in the NHL.

In 80 games that year, Spooner posted 49 points with 13 goals and 36 assists. However, this past year, Spooner saw a dip in production. In 78 games, Spooner scored 11 goals along with 28 assists for 39 points, ten points less than the year prior.

Why the trade makes sense.

The word in Boston is that Spooner is disgruntled with his role on the team. Going into the playoffs, Spooner was made the teams fourth line center. While he was often deployed, and effective, on the first power play unit, Spooner’s minutes at even strength took a hit.

According to the Boston Globe, Spooner’s average minutes under former Bruins coach Claude Julien was 14:21 per game.

Under new Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, Spooner’s time on ice per game dropped to 13:16. While Julien shifted Spooner around the lineup, Cassidy left Spooner on the fourth line.

It’s clear Spooner is in need of a change while he’s just entering the prime of his career. For the Rangers, acquiring a young, speedy center would be an ideal acquisition.

Spooner is a restricted free agent, so if the Rangers traded for his rights, he’d likely command around $3 million per year. This would fill a need at a decent price.

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For Spooner, a change of scenery could be very beneficial. Perhaps he decides to sign a one-year deal with the Rangers to prove himself worthy of a bigger contract in the future. Consistency has been an issue with Spooner, but that can’t all be blamed on him.

One thing to notice with Spooner as mentioned before is his high assist totals. Spooner posted 28 assists this past year with linemates such as Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes.

With a better supporting cast in New York, we could see those numbers rise.

While Spooner may not play as big a role on the Bruins, that doesn’t mean his value isn’t high.

What could the Rangers give up?

The potential is there for Spooner, but the trade has to make sense for Boston. It wouldn’t make sense for the Rangers to trade a forward for Spooner since they are looking to add one. However, the Bruins could use another quality defenseman.

While the Bruins need a more top end defenseman, the team is unlikely to land one in free agency. The reason Bostin was eliminated by the Ottawa Senators was that the Bruins defense was banged up and depleted.

Factor in defenseman Colin Miller being taken in the expansion draft by Las Vegas, and Zdeno Chara turning 41 years old, the Bruins will be looking to fill the back end of their defense, if not add depth.

This would work out perfectly for the Rangers who now have a log jam at defense after the acquisition of Anthony DeAngelo.

Barring any other free agent signings, the defensemen who are sure to be in the opening day lineup for the Rangers are Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk, Brady Skjei, and Brendan Smith.

That leaves Marc Staal, Nick Holden, Anthony DeAngelo, Neil Pionk, Alexei Bereglazov, and Ryan Graves to battle for the remaining three spots.

The player who makes the most sense would be Nick Holden. The Rangers would likely want to hold onto their young defenseman, but Holden makes sense for the Bruins as well.

Holden did struggle in the latter half of the season but was paired with the struggling Marc Staal. Holden still managed to post a plus/minus of +13 and had a career-high 34 points.

Holden’s versatility to play the left or right side, combined with his extremely affordable $1.65 million cap hit, makes him a solid pickup.

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Would that be enough? My guess is no. However, the Rangers could throw a pick in the equation to get the job done. After two first round picks this year, why not? Spooner could thrive in coach Alain Vigneault’s up-tempo style of play.