Tuesday, the New York Rangers made the first of what could be many moves, trading defenseman Nick Holden to the Boston Bruins.
While the return for Holden wasn’t particularly lucrative, it was a fair one indeed, especially when you consider that it only cost the Rangers a fourth-round pick to acquire Holden from the Colorado Avalanche in June 2016.
O’Gara is a left-handed defenseman that was drafted 151st overall in the fifth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Rather than turn pro, he decided to spend the next four seasons at Yale University, an institution where he could develop as a player and make a more steady transition to the NHL. Since the 2015-16 season, O’Gara has spent time in the AHL playing for the Providence Bruins, the Boston Bruins’ affiliate.
He’s bounced between the AHL and NHL, accumulating no points in 11 games with a minus-four rating for the Bruins over the past two seasons. Over 107 AHL games, O’Gara has put up 28 points (seven goals, 21 assists) and a plus-18 rating.
With solid size at 6-foot-4, 210-pounds, O’Gara brings a strong physical presence to his overall defensive style of play. Despite having decent skating ability, O’Gara doesn’t carry any offensive upside at all. He is seen as more of a depth defensive defenseman, which isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Defensively speaking, his ability to block shots and defend in front of the net are solid attributes that can certainly help this Rangers team. Here is a video of O’Gara defending a teammate in front of the net:
Despite O’Gara possessing solid defensive attributes, my predictions for him with the Rangers are bleak at best. While a multitude of defensemen remain out with injury, O’Gara will have a brief stint with the team at the NHL level. Following the return of Ryan McDonagh and Marc Staal, O’Gara will be sent down to the Hartford Wolfpack to contribute as a steady defenseman there.
While O’Gara is not a particularly flashy player, it is always interesting to attempt to assess the talent of young prospects, especially with the type of size and defensive upside that O’Gara offers. While his success at the NHL is not inevitable, it is indeed a possibility.
Let us all see what this kid from Long Island can do. It must be exciting for him and his family to see him play for an NHL team in New York; even if they are a part of that dreaded Islanders fan base.
All joking aside, it will be interesting to see how O’Gara fares in the NHL, at least for the next couple of games. His defensive ability and tendency to clear opposing players from the front of the net may even help the Rangers in the short run.