With one year left on his huge contract, the New York Rangers are not going to be able to get a lot for a declining Rick Nash.
The New York Rangers obviously need to go out and get a good, young defenseman this off-season. With that said, they need to move a player of value to get one.
While Rick Nash has value to the Rangers as a two-way winger who, when he’s hot, is a beast out there in all three zones. To other teams though, Nash may not have that same value, and other Rangers fans have to begin to realize that.
For starters, Nash’s contract has one year left on it, making him an add in the short term only. Nash has a partial no-movement clause that allows him to pick 12 teams where he can be traded to. That alone kind of ties up Jeff Gorton’s hands.
Next, Nash’s cap hit of $7.8 million is a huge number for a team to take on when they will likely be pressed against the cap. The Rangers would most likely need to be willing to eat part of his contract to make a deal work. Under the CBA, the Rangers can retain salary of up to two players. If they want to maximize their return on a deal, they would need to do this, although it would be counterproductive because the reason you would deal him is to cut salary.
It is very hard to find a true comparable to Nash because of his skill set being what it is. He’s a guy who has underperformed offensively but will still give you between 20-30 goals a season while playing excellent defensive hockey.
One trade from the previous season that we can look at was Thomas Vanek going from Detroit to Florida. Vanek, who notched 10 more points this year than Nash, garnered a third round pick from the Florida Panthers. The caveat here is that Vanek was on a 1 year, $2.6 million contract, which is much more feasible than Nash’s.
Another comparable guy is someone like Patrick Eaves. It’s not the greatest comparison but it’s pretty much all we got. Eaves is a decent defensive player that always finishes his checks. He also put the puck in the net 32 times this past season. Eaves retrieved a second-round pick from the Ducks. Eaves was on a contract that only paid him $1 million last year so once again, this makes it hard to tell what Nash would bring back since the contract is much more expensive.
If the Rangers were to trade Nash straight up and eat half of his salary, they may only be able to get a third-rounder. That’s definitely not enough for the Rangers considering what he does for them. The Rangers need to decide his worth to the team. If they deem he’s worth more than the cap space and roster spot they’d create by moving him, then they have to keep him.