With Marian Gaborik out until at least December following shoulder surgery, the Rangers’ need for offense has escalated in this offseason, leading GM Glen Sather to look mainly at two options to obtain scoring help via trade: Blue Jackets power forward Rick Nash, and speedy Anaheim’ winger Bobby Ryan. Either of these two players would certainly help with offense, and both have expressed unhappiness with their current teams. But what could we as fans expect from these two talented but different players, and what would each cost the Rangers?
When it comes to a combination of size, speed and scoring touch, the 28-year-old Nash is among the league’s elite. He has surpassed 30 goals in all but one of his 7 NHL seasons on a mostly abysmal Columbus squad. His value to the Rangers would be increased due to his similarity in playing style to rookie Chris Kreider, to whom he could be both a valuable mentor and top linemate. A line of Nash, Kreider, and perhaps Brian Boyle would surely be something to contend with. The asking price for Nash is steep – Columbus GM Scott Howson allegedly wants Brandon Dubinsky, Michael Del Zotto, Derek Stepan, a top prospect and a 1st round pick, with Sather thus far refusing to include Stepan, whom he has termed “untouchable.”
Ryan, 25, is a finesse skater with soft hands and great vision, a guy who can get himself to the side of the net seemingly without opposing players knowing he is there, and has scored 30 or more goals in each of his 4 NHL seasons. It would be easy to imagine what he might do on a line with, say, Stepan and Ryan Callahan. The problem with that is that Anaheim has expressed interest in a young 2nd-line center as part of any deal for Ryan, so they, like Columbus, would likely want Stepan in trade, and as we know, Sather is not giving in at this point.
The bottom line is, either Nash or Ryan would undoubtedly provide the offensive help the Rangers need, but is either worth the price? Some say the Rangers should avoid sacrificing quality young players like Stepan, avoid “mortgaging the future”, but when the player you would be getting in return is 25 or 28 years old and has consistently proven himself at the NHL level, does that sentiment still apply?
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