Holden heads to Boston and updates on the bantam AAA Sabres, female Slash and junior B Merchants in Rinkside Report


Holden traded

Nick Holden was dealt to a Stanley Cup contender as the Boston Bruins acquired the St. Albert defenceman in Tuesday’s transaction with the New York Rangers.

The Bruins, one of the top teams in the NHL with 82 points in 58 games, sent defenceman Rob O’Gara, 24, and a third-round pick in the 2018 entry draft in exchange for the St. Albert Catholic High School alumnus.

Boston is the fourth NHL team for Holden, 30, an impending unrestricted free agent.

In 356 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Colorado Avalanche and the Rangers, Holden recorded 35 goals, 107 points and 123 penalty minutes and in 18 playoff games with Colorado and New York totaled five goals, eight points and 12 penalty minutes.

His best season stats-wise was 11 goals and 34 points while going plus-13 in 80 games with the 2016/17 Rangers.

Holden also skated in 295 American Hockey League games with Syracuse Crunch and Springfield Falcons, posting 26 goals and 118 points with the Blue Jackets’ minor league affiliates.

The former midget AAA St. Albert Raider and captain of the Chilliwack Bruins in the Western Hockey League produced three goals and 12 points and was minus-three in 55 games this season with the Rangers.

Holden was originally signed by the Blue Jackets as a free agent in March of 2008 and played his first NHL game against the Anaheim Ducks, a 3-1 win Oct. 20, 2010.

The Alberta Junior Hockey League product of the Camrose Kodiaks and Sherwood Park Crusaders joined the Avalanche as a free agent in July of 2013 and was rewarded with a three-year contract extension valued at $4,950,000 on July 1, 2014.

The Avalanche sent Holden to the Rangers in June of 2016 for a fourth-round pick in the 2017 entry draft.

Sabres playoffs

The St. Albert Gregg Distributors Sabres were poised for a sweeping victory Friday in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League playoffs.

The score against the SSAC Southgate Lions in game two of the best-of-three nitro north division semifinal at Bill Hunter Arena was unavailable at press time.

Game three, if needed, is 3:30 p.m. today at Go Auto Arena.

Tuesday’s series opener was 6-4 for the Sabres in St. Albert.

Period scorer were 3-1 SSAC after the first and 4-4 after the second.

Jaxon Dube, Kaleb West, Evan Arnold, David Saunders, Chase Visser and captain Tyson Greenway scored and Ethan Sundar, Palmer Strang and Arnold collected two assists apiece.

Shots were 23-17 for the Sabres as Carson Ironside (three goals-against on six shots in 14 minutes) and Matt Tebbutt (one goal-against on 11 shots in 46 minutes) shared net duties.

The Sabres (25-3-8, 186 GF/76 GA) finished first and SSAC (12-15-8, 101 GF/110 GA) placed fourth in the nitro standings and in the season series St. Albert won two and tied two.

The winner plays the Sherwood Park Flyers (20-8-8) or CAC Lehigh Cement (20-12-4) in the best-of-three division final.

Slash games

The St. Albert Ron Hodgson Slash have three games remaining in the Alberta Female Hockey League before the midget AAA team defends its provincial crown.

The Slash (19-8) and Lloydminster Steelers (15-9-2) face-off tonight at 7:45 p.m. at Go Auto Arena.

Next weekend, the 2017 Esso Cup national champions host the Red Deer Chiefs (15-8-4) Friday at 2 p.m. and the last league game is Saturday against the Edmonton Pandas (2-22-3) at 7:30 p.m. at Bill Hunter Arena.

The Slash are ranked second behind the Rocky Mountain Raiders (22-4-2) in the six-team division.

Madison Willan leads the Slash in scoring with 11 goals and 21 points in 26 games.

Camryn Drever (10-3, 1.39 GAA) and Brianna Sank (9-5, 1.56 GAA) are the top netminders in goals-against average and share the league lead in shutouts with two apiece.

Merchants swept

It’s tee time for the St. Albert Merchants after Wednesday’s playoff loss to the Beverly Warriors in the Capital Junior B Hockey League.

Preparations are underway for the third annual Merch Madness Cup golf tournament in June following the 5-3 setback at Confederation Arena in game three of the best-of-five west division series.

Cam Mazur tied it at one in the first period and in the middle frame Matt Havens made it 2-1 and Peter Corrigan restored the lead at 3-2 at 8:17 before Beverly tallied twice as the period wound down. The last goal was an empty netter.

Beverly fired 49 shots at netminder Ethan Crotty (1-2, 4.24 GAA) and the Merchants were credited with 27 shots.

Previous playoff scores were 5-2 in St. Albert and 6-2 at Clareview Arena as Beverly outshot the Merchants 46-25 in game one and 48-22 in game two.

Beverly (26-11-1) and the Merchants (21-16-1) finished first and fourth, respectively, in the west standings and in the four-game season series both teams won twice on home ice.

Beverly had a first-round bye and the Merchants went the distance to eliminate the fifth-place Stony Plain Flyers (15-20-3) in the best-of-three qualifying round after the first two games were decided in overtime.

Havens led the Merchants in playoff scoring with five goals and 10 points in six games after registering a team-leading 20 goals and 59 points in 35 games in the regular season.


About Author

Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen joined the St. Albert Gazette in 1991. He writes about sports, athletes and teams from St. Albert and area.