There hasn’t been a lot of talk about the Columbus Blue Jackets this season, mainly because they’ve been really bad. The rumor mill changed all of this Tuesday morning, and now the largest topic for discussion is the future of Blue Jacket Rick Nash and if he will be traded.
Everyone is speculating where Nash is going to go if a trade happens, and many are saying New York may be the spot for the 27-year-old All-star.
It would give the Rangers the last piece to the championship puzzle. They may be getting goals up and down the roster, but they do need that last elite goal-scorer before anyone says they will definitely make it to the Stanley Cup. Despite having his most lackluster season to date with 17 goals (he would be tied for third on the Rangers with Brad Richards), he would be a solid addition to any team.
But is he worth it?
Yeah, Nash would satiate the needs of the Stanley Cup desiring Rangers, but the Rangers would: A) probably have to make big sacrifices and B) could potentially find themselves in the same cap space trouble that they’ve managed to finally rid themselves of.
Nash has a contract which sees him get paid at least $7 million per year, and bringing him onto the Rangers would force Sather to get very clever in dealing with the contracts of Gaborik, Richards, Lundqvist and then Nash too. Sure, you can always get creative with cap space, and the ideas of a package including Dubinsky and Wolski would free up at least $8 million, but you never know how much Nash will ask for come signing time.
As much as I love Dubi, and I know all of us do, he will have to be the sacrifice of the Rangers for Nash. The sacrifice the Rangers cannot make though is Chris Kreider.
The transition from college to NHL play is tricky, and the Rangers have seen both the good (Derek Stepan) and not so good (Matt Gilroy) of this transition. However, Kreider is fast and that’s invaluable to the Rangers at this point. The Rangers don’t have trouble playing against teams that are very skilled and very strong, but they do struggle against teams that are really fast, which is probably why they never do so well against Toronto or Montreal. Their speed improves with Hagelin around, but one player is not enough to create a big rush and keep up with other teams.
Kreider could easily change that. He said from the get-go that he was going to stay at Boston College all four years (which could worry the Blue Jackets who probably want to start rebuilding as soon as possible), and he likely won’t make that huge plummet coming up on his senior year. If anything, he’ll continue to get faster, which is something the Rangers need.
The other problem with trading for Rick Nash is that the packages Columbus will be looking for will have to include a goaltender, and there’s no way come hell, fire and moon the Rangers are getting rid of Biron. He’s too good of a backup to let go, especially when one of the most crucial strengths of going into the playoffs will be how much he plays to ensure Hank gets a good amount of rest.
Another reason why some analysts are saying the Rangers should distance themselves from Nash is because their team chemistry is too good to mess around with at this point. This is a team that clearly gets along and their chemistry could be one of their strongest assets against playoff competitors. Adding a superstar like Nash could get them more goals, but it could also upset the sync the current Rangers roster has on the ice.
You never know who’s secretly a diva on the inside.
The Rangers best play is to keep away from Nash, unless they can have a package which doesn’t include a goalie (Columbus isn’t going to want Chad Johnson, let’s face it) and/or Chris Kreider. They may not get the elite goal-scorer, but it won’t be the end of the world either.