A former head coach of the New York Rangers has criticized the team’s handling of the trade of defenseman Nick Holden to the Carolina Hurricanes.
In a new interview with NHL.com, Ron Hextall spoke about his dismissal and the move that left the Rangers with little flexibility in acquiring a veteran defenseman.
Nash was the head coach when Holden was traded to the Hurricanes on March 31, 2014, and Hextill spoke candidly about the decision to fire him following the season.
“I think there’s no excuse for him to go,” Hextell said.
“We’ve got a young, hungry, talented team.
I think there was no way they could get the guy.
And there was certainly no way he was going to be a contributor to us in any way.””
It was a huge mistake for the organization, and the fans as well,” Heextell continued.
“The fans saw that the player was not the answer.
And the fans, the fans thought, ‘You know what?
We’ve got to give him a chance, let him play, let’s give him some experience, let us put him in a position where he can contribute to our team.'”
Nash has since gone on to coach the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs, but the Rangers have been without him for three seasons.
“It wasn’t because of anything that I did or didn’t do,” Hexell said of Holden’s trade.
“He had a very good career and had the opportunity to play with a great team.
We were trying to build something for ourselves and he just got a little bit burnt out.
He just felt like we needed to move on from him.”
In addition to Holden, the Rangers traded forward David Krejci to the New Jersey Devils on April 1, 2018, and defenseman Eric Staal to the Dallas Stars on June 1, 2019.
Both players have been dealt to Carolina, who lost defenseman Derek Stepan to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights and the former Rangers captain David Backes to the Chicago Blackhawks.