Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Nash Must Elevate His Game To His Standard

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“A big body, Nash is also blessed with tremendous offensive instincts. He loves to shoot and has the shot to score a lot of goals. Owns great acceleration and skates really well. Also has the puck control to beat defensemen one on one regularly”.  Elite Prospects.com
It was on July 23, 2012, the New York Rangers traded Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon, and their first round draft pick in the 2013 Draft to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Rick Nash, Steven Delisle and a third round draft pick in the 2013 draft. Since the trade Nash has amassed eighty-one points in 109 games for the Blueshirts. The three young players the New York Rangers sent to Columbus have combined for 132 points in the same period. Brandon Dubinsky was just resigned to a six year contract extension and is part of the core of the team. Artem Anisimov has been an all purpose player for the Columbus Blue jackets.

Comparing one player to three isn’t at all fair to Rick Nash but in New York you have to produce. Prior seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets he was an all-star calibre forward. In the 2008/2009 season he amassed better than a point per game with seventy-nine points in seventy-eight games played for the Columbus Blue Jackets. The New York Rangers brought him here to be their offensive weapon. He was nearly a point per game player for New York Rangers in his first season on broadway, during the lockout shortened 2012/2013 season. He and Derek Stepan seemed to mesh well and they both had great seasons.

After his second concussion three games into the season Rick Nash was not himself!

This past season Rick Nash sustained a serious concussion against the San José Sharks. The injury came only three games into the season, forcing the New York Rangers to play without him for seventeen games. This was also Alain Vigneault‘s first season with the New York Rangers so the entire team was learning a whole new strategy. When he returned he wasn’t quite right, something changed in his game. He was hesitant driving to the net and was not able to get engaged in most hockey games. He only scored thirty-nine points in sixty-five games this past season, and then went missing during most the playoffs. He didn’t score a goal until the New York Rangers fifteenth game of the playoffs. That goal was during mop up time in the game one blowout of the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The teams depth scorers did much of the heavy lifting during the playoffs for Rick Nash and the New York Rangers.

Rick Nash took eighteen shots on goal in the five Stanley Cup Finals games. It wasn’t for a lack of effort, he was engaged in that series. The puck refused to find twine behind Jonathan Quick altogether for him. He had a few shots that could have won games for the New York Rangers had they gone in the net. In three games in Los Angeles all of them went to overtime but Rick Nash couldn’t score a goal.

The New York Rangers need Rick Nash to elevate his game to the standard he set and to what he was brought to New York for.

Rick Nash is a five time All-Star and a two-time forty goal scorer who’s still in his prime at age thirty. If he can get back to his earlier production, the New York Rangers are going to be a much better team overall. If Rick Nash can be a productive player in the postseason, there’s no team in the NHL the New York Rangers cannot beat. Maybe a new beginning and a second season under second year head coach Alain Vigneault, Rick Nash and the boys in blue can finally bring the thirty-five pound trophy to the Big Apple.

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Tags: Artem Anisimov Brandon Dubinsky New York Rangers Rick Nash

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