It was eleven years ago today that Rick Nash came to New York and joined the iconic Blueshirts. It was a deal that the team was never quite able to use to complete the ultimate hockey goal of winning the Stanley Cup, but this deal was interesting in its own right. Looking back, people have been quite critical of how this trade worked out.
As we’re all Ranger fans, let’s start with the Rangers side. Steven Delisle made 4 AHL appearances for the Hartford Wolf Pack, he was included in this deal so the Blue Jackets could stay under the contract limit at the time. It shouldn’t be shocking that this player never impacted the NHL roster because he was a pure make-weight despite having quite a fruitful career in the lower leagues in North America.
Nash himself gets a lot of flack from Ranger fans and I’ve never understood it. He was everything the Blueshirts wanted him to be when they acquired him. In 375 games for the Rangers, Nash put up 145 goals and 107 assists for 252 points. His production dropped in the playoffs but in 73 games to put up 14 goals and 24 assists for 38 points for the Blueshirts and he even made the cup finals with the team in 2014.
Rick Nash did what everyone wanted him to do when he landed here in New York. He became one of the faces of this franchise, and the totals he put up did not disappoint. It’s a deal that looking back helped the Rangers out. This is one that feels like it would have been loved by everyone universally if the Rangers had beaten the Kings back in 2014 because there was nothing wrong with Nash.
Nash’s number hangs above the ice at Nationwide Arena in Columbus because of what he did there so it’s probably fair that we talk about what they got in exchange for the all-time leader in almost everything for the Ohio franchise of the NHL. For a franchise with such limited success, Nash is still considered an iconic figure in the Columbus area, so let’s talk about what they got.
Brandon Dubinsky was a good bottom-six guy for the Jackets. Despite injuries destroying his career and never quite being able to live up to the heights he had set for himself in New York. Across 7 years in Columbus, he had 72 goals and 153 assists for 225 points in 430 games. That’s a lot of service from a man that would become part of the leadership group at the end of his time in Columbus.
Artem Anisimov was not awful in his own right. He would be dealt in the first Brandon Saad deal between Chicago and Columbus so he wasn’t in Columbus long, but he did return the major piece of the deal that saw the Jackets acquire Artemi Panarin which is a neat link. He had 40 goals and 44 assists for 84 points in 168 games with the Jackets before he was moved to the Windy City.
Tim Erixon played 93 career NHL games, and most of them were in Columbus. 52 games with the Jackets saw him score once and tally 10 assists. He wasn’t a minor league part of this deal, but he’s not the steal of the one that someone else who was involved in this trade was. But we will get to that soon.
First, let’s look back at that first-round pick. It became Kerby Rychel. Rychel had 2 goals and 10 assists during his 37 games for the Jackets over two years but then started to bounce around the league looking for a home. He never reached the upside he once was thought to have when he was taken 13th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets. He’s had quite a good career in minor hockey, but never quite cracked the NHL.
The final asset I didn’t mention was the 3rd round pick the Rangers got back. That’s because it was the steal of this entire trade. With the 75th overall pick in 2013, the New York Rangers drafted Russian forward Pavel Buchnevich. In 301 games with the Blueshirts, Buch had 79 goals and 116 helpers for 195 points. It’s a great return for a third-round pick that was a throw-in from the deal that landed the Rangers Rick Nash.
Overall, this deal has affected the entire Rangers organization a lot more than some fans will recognize. If it wasn’t for this deal, the Rangers couldn’t have acquired Blais who was part of the deal that brought Tarasenko and Mikkola to New York. Nash never gets dealt to Boston to bring in Ryan Lindgren. It’s such an interesting deal to look back on, and I will certainly be doing a deeper dive into the trade tree that came from it.