Is It Time For Rick Nash To Ask For A Trade? Mike Modano Thinks so

October 19th, 2011 No Comments

On paper the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 loss to the Dallas Stars doesn’t look too bad.

First of all, Columbus managed to out-shoot Dallas by a margin of 24-11 in the first two periods and 40-18 overall. Second, the Blue Jackets outhit the Stars by a margin of 32-20 and third Columbus did manage to capitalize on one of their five power play opportunities, but when you consider the Blue Jackets are now a combined 0-5-1 on the season, it’s time to start panicking, isn’t it?

Long time captain of the Dallas Stars Mike Modano tweeted (@9modano) “Rick Nash please ask for a trade..!” after the Stars victory, leaving many NHL fans wondering if Modano is right—maybe Nash should ask for a trade out of Columbus?

This summer, Columbus Blue Jackets Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Scott Howson pulled off what many thought would be the trade to finally turn around a franchise marred in mediocrity since it’s inception in 2000, sending the clubs first and third-round 2011 picks as well as forward Jakob Voracek to the Philadelphia Flyers in return for star sniper Jeff Carter.

Carter, was thought to be the missing link to the Blue Jackets forward depth and the final piece to the puzzle that would see the franchise make the playoffs not only this season, but on a consistent basis as well.

Instead, Carter is injured with a foot injury after just five games and is expected to be out of the lineup for an extended period of time and is currently listed as week-to-week.

Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason continues to struggle between the pipes, posting a 0-5-1 record to go along with a bloated 3.34 goals against average and a paltry .883 save percentage while Nash is producing points at a point-a-game pace.

With star forward Carter out, Mason and the defense in front of him looking lost on more nights than not and RJ Umberger putting up an abysmal one assist and a plus/minus rating of minus-3 through six games, one has to wonder if the Blue Jackets (who are off to their worst start in franchise history) will ever get on the right track.

With a payroll of $63,455,877 (according to capgeek.com) the Blue Jackets own one of the highest payrolls in all of hockey—a payroll that should see the Blue Jackets with a lot better record than 0-5-1 to start the 2011-12 season.

Carter (signed through 2021-22) and Nash (signed through 2017-18) take up approximately $14 million of the Blue Jackets payroll, which has many fans wondering if  Howson has put too many of his eggs (cap space) into too few baskets.

To be fair, injuries are part of the game, and after six games it’s hardly time to panic in Columbus. That said, if things don’t turn around quickly one could easily see Howson being fired or, if Nash was to take Modano’s advice, perhaps Nash could do the unthinkable and ask for a trade out of Columbus.

Many super star players have played out their careers with bad clubs over the years, many of which had to have some regrets after their playing days were over. For NHL fans, it can be a painful experience to watch a great player waste his talent on a poor team. As a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs Nash reminds me a lot of Mats Sundin, who spent most of his career with the Maple Leafs with sometimes good linemates, but mostly very average linemates.

When you consider Nash’s career statistics of 261 goals, 233 assists (494 points) in 598 career games and the less than stellar line mates he has had to play with over the years it is easy to say Nash has been one of the best forwards of his time.

Playing in Columbus—a small market team with limited playoff births—Nash is often a forgotten man.

Without question, with the right organization Nash would be right there with the best players in the world—Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos—if he already isn’t there already.

You have to admire Nash for re-upping with the Blue Jackets last season, but given the franchises struggles, apparent lack of direction and the dangerously high payroll the Blue Jackets have, one has to question whether or not Nash made a smart hockey decision when he signed his eight-year, $62,400,000 contract with Columbus.

Sure, Nash got paid, but he would have got paid wherever he chose to sign.

Perhaps Modano is right, perhaps the time is now for Nash to make a smart hockey decision and quietly, but firmly ask for a trade out of Columbus before the bad gets worse?

Until next time,

Peace!

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