7/24/17 | Regarding a potential trade of Nick Holden, Larry Brooks writes that there appears to be a "glut" of defenseman available via trade or as UFAs right now. (NY Post)
He notes that there is also a "dearth" of available centers on the market right now. (NY Post)
7/3/17 | During his conference all and TV interviews on Saturday, Kevin Shattenkirk said that he was going to talk with Nick Holden about how Shattenkirk could acquire and wear the #22 jersey.
Holden, who has one-year left on his contract at $1.65 million, is a possible trade chip for the Rangers to use as they look to acquire a center.
During the season, Alain Vigneault labeled Holden as "dependable" and said that he understands how the game is supposed to be played on defense.
Vigneault added, "If I were to describe him real quickly to you I would say dependable, good honest young player that seems to love the game and this environment.""
The Rangers now have Holden, Shattenkirk, Ryan McDonagh, Brady Skjei, Marc Staal (no-move clause), Brendan Smith, Anthony DeAngelo, Steve Kampfer and prospects Ryan Graves, Neal Pionk and Alexei Bereglazov under contract.
Shattenkirk said that he has his heart set on wearing #22 and that he wore #8 to start his career in Colorado, 12 in his first season in St. Louis and then 22 starting in 2011.
Adam Rotter: The Rangers will obviously not move Nick Holden just to free up #22 but I do think it's likely that Holden is moved before jersey numbers have to become a official before the season. Holden would appear to be the odd man out on defense since the top-four likely includes McDonagh, Shattenkirk, Skjei and Smith, Marc Staal will be on the left side on the third pair and you have to think that Anthony DeAngelo will get every shot to play the right side on the third pair.
That said, it's possible the Rangers keep Holden to start the season, see how DeAngelo progresses, see if there are other injuries and then if things are okay, possibly move him during the season to add some more depth up front.
Holden is a capable enough player, and if the Rangers have the cap space then they could conceivably keep him as a 6/7 guy, but he seems like someone that could be used to acquire a bottom-six center. I'm not exactly sure who that player could be, but the Rangers should be able to find a team looking for a solid defender in exchange for a center.