February is an interesting month in the sports world. The Super Bowl marks the end of the football season. Pitchers and catchers meet later in the month to begin Spring Training for the baseball season. And basketball, normally, is in full swing. But, for hockey, it marks the time for GM’s to assess if they’re buyers or sellers and the ridiculous “trade rumors” begin to circulate.
Every year, the New York Rangers are linked some big-name player that may be available at the right price and this season is no different. The big-time player this year? That would be Rick Nash. With the Columbus Blue Jackets mired in a terrible season, GM Scott Howson would love to shed its team of some salary and replenish the roster for next season because, clearly, this season is a lost one.
But does that include shipping out the face of the Blue Jackets’ young franchise? Find out more after the jump.
The first thing to point out would be that scouts for the Columbus Blue Jackets, inclduing the general manager Scott Howson himself, have been at two straight Rangers games. Not exactly the smoking gun you’re looking for as scouts attend games all the time, and not just for assessing talent for trade purposes. Nonetheless, the scouts are there and are closely examining who, if anyone, can help their franchise short-term and long-term.
Beat writers also get a tad wacky around this time, too. Obviously, if they write for newspapers their job is to sell that newspaper and what better way to create mass hysteria than by facilitating your own trade rumors? Sounds like something we [Blue Line Station] should do (fat chance, we like being respected). Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported over the weekend, according to his “sources,” the alleged cost to acquire Rick Nash for the Rangers may include Brandon Dubinsky, Chris Kreider, and a first-round pick.
Does anyone honestly think Columbus would trade away its captain and star player for so little in return? Rick Nash isn’t just a 40-goal-a-season elite scorer in the NHL: he IS the Columbus Blue Jackets. Nash is the reason fans are in the stands for the games; it certainly isn’t watch the awesome brand of hockey they play. If the Blue Jackets truly intend to gut their franchise and start over, wouldn’t it make more sense to demand a ransom for its money-maker to reload the coffers with depth as well as talent?
Analyzing the offer Garrioch claims “may get it done,” Dubinsky is a nice, gritty compliment to the Jackets but by no means replaces Nash’s production. If Kreider is the real deal, thought of as a potential 30-goal scorer in the NHL along with his lightning-quick speed, he’s still a couple seasons away from the NHL level. The first-round draft pick they would receive from the Rangers would be towards the bottom of the round: hardly the chance to receive an impact-player. Does that deal make sense for the Blue Jackets? Not at all.
Realistically, Howson’s offer to trade away its franchise player would look more like this: Artem Anisimov, Chris Kreider, Dylan McIlrath/Tim Reixon and a first-round pick. If you’re Glen Sather, you thank Howson for his time and move on. If the Blue Jackets are going to trade Rick Nash, and it’s a big if, it’s going to be in the offseason when they can establish the proper market for him, rather than hastily dealing him during the season.
As for the Rangers, adding Rick Nash to their roster, assuming you don’t break up the team to get him, would be a welcomed addition of supreme offensive talent. However, the money ($7.8 million per year through 2017-2018 according to capgeek) and the logistics make this nothing more than a pipe dream to think Rick Nash will be a New York Ranger.