The Rick Nash Trade

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By Dave Cunning 

Finally. For once, it looks like the NHL Trade deadline is going to be interesting. 



BetOnHockey_Rick_Nash.jpgNow that Rick Nash’s name has joined the conversation of available players, no longer do we have to listen to Bob McKenzie and all the other sports network hosts drone on about how Tuomo Ruutu of the Carolina Hurricanes is this year’s hottest commodity.

Sure, Ruutu’s 30 points so far this year are respectable, but the guy’s never had more than 57 points in a season. Nash has had 50 or more points every season since his rookie year, and four of them have been 60 points or more seasons – maxing out at 79 in 08/09. If he didn’t happen to be playing for the worst team in the NHL this year (CBJ are in the league’s basement by 9 points), I’d venture to guess he’d have been even more productive. When you play for a team that has no other notable stars (the trades for Carter and Wisniewski have been busts), and your team only makes the playoffs once out of the ten years it has existed (only to be swept in the first round), it’s tough for an elite player to really thrive. Nash is also a five-time All-Star, Rocket Richard Trophy winner (2004), World Championship gold medalist (2007) and an Olympic gold medalist (2010). So that’s why he’s valuable. And that’s why he needs to be on a team that actually has a chance to win. 

The first hurdle though, is how does he get out? Nash is in the second year of an 8 year, $62.4 million dollar deal that pays him 7.5 to 8.2 million per season, and has a no movement clause. It sounds as though Columbus and Nash are willing to waive that clause, but who’s got/can clear up that kind of cap space to make it happen?

Minnesota_Wild_BetOnHockey.gifLooking up every team’s cap space on, it appears that eleven teams could afford Nash outright: Minnesota ($8 million free), St. Louis ($9.3 million free), Florida ($9.5 million free), Phoenix ($10.7 million free), Winnipeg ($12 million free), Ottawa ($12.9 million free), Carolina ($13.9 million free), Islanders ($13.9 million free), Dallas ($14.3 million free), Nashville ($14.4 million free), and Colorado ($14.6 million free). The only question for those teams becomes, who or what (ex: picks, cash) can they afford to part with in exchange? If I were Columbus management, the only big name player near-equivalencies I see from those teams would be Jamie Benn, Shea Weber, Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza, and John Tavares. 

New_York_Rangers_BetOnHockey.gifBeyond them, any team could make a play for Nash, but obviously they would be required to move some bigger/more pieces of their own to clear the space. The Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, LA Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, and Toronto Maple Leafs seem to be popular front runners. But again, what is Nash worth in return? And what does Columbus need?  


Philadelphia_Flyers_BetOnHockey.gifIn short, Columbus needs everything, because they’re awful at everything. Moving a franchise player who does all the scoring is tricky, because without him, no one else can do that job – so they need a franchise player to come back their way. In my opinion, I don’t know why Boston would bother – Nash’s biggest asset would be goal scoring, and the Bruins are already first in the NHL for goals scored with 188. Many think the Rangers have too good of chemistry within their team to risk breaking up – though it’s not out of NYR’s character to sign big name players (see: Gretzky, Messier, Jagr, etc). The Flyers probably wouldn’t give up Giroux, but maybe Briere or Hartnell? Talbot, Voracek, or JVR? Maybe Havlat from the Sharks? The Kings could move a guy like Penner, packaged with some young guys. The Leafs could put together a package of younger talent perhaps consisting of Clarke MacArthur, Tim Connolly, Nikolai Kulemin, and/or others. 


Vancouver_Canucks_BetOnHockey.gifBut let me throw this curveball at you: what if a wildcard team like Vancouver put up Cory Schneider and someone/thing else for Nash? Canucks get scoring, size, leadership, and Columbus gets a great goaltender that desperately needs to spread his wings as a starter on another team. Seems like a match to me. Jeremy Roenick thinks the Chicago Blackhawks should consider moving Patrick Kane. Or what about moving Ryan Miller from the lowly Sabres?  


At the end of the day, this deal needs to happen. Nash is too good of a player to continue suffering in Columbus. The guy shouldn’t have to pull a Ray Bourque and wait until the last years of his career to move to a contender. Columbus needs a whole bunch of help, and realistically Rick Nash is the only valuable piece that CBJ has can bring a whole bunch of desperately needed help to Ohio.  

In the meantime, grab one of these t-shirts and join the FREE RICK NASH campaign.

Read Dave’s blog at and follow him on Twitter @davecunning



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