Rick Nash Not Coming To Toronto
The New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks, Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers are said to be on Nash’s list, all of which look to be good bets to be Stanley Cup contenders both now and for the foreseeable future.
So why not the Maple Leafs? First, Toronto can be a pain in the arse to play in. Unrelenting media attention, a general manager in Brian Burke who seems to be unable to land a proper centre for Nash to play with and the pressure of not winning a Cup in Toronto since 1967 are all factors for Nash, or any other NHL player considering the Maple Leafs as a destination.
Sure, Toronto’s fan base is amongst the most loyal in all of sports and the chance to play in front of family and friends can be enticing for some players, but with Toronto believed to be hard pressed to make the playoffs next season and as many as six forwards set to become unrestricted free agents after next season, it appears as if there is far too much uncertainty surrounding the Maple Leafs for players to make a commitment.
Besides, Toronto already has two capable wingers on their first line in Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel. As good as Nash is, another winger is not what this team needs—which is why head coach Randy Carlyle is going to try James van Riemsdyk at centre instead of the wing.
From the outside looking in, Nash looks to have picked six solid franchises for which to play. New York has excellent goaltending in Henrik Lundqvist and leadership with Brad Richards. Pittsburgh has Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin—two world class forwards. Boston has a well balanced team which includes perennial Norris Trophy candidate Zdeno Chara and a slew of young talent throughout the lineup. San Jose has “Jumbo” Joe Thornton, while both Philadelphia and Detroit have very deep rosters.
Put yourself in Nash’s skates and ask yourself— why would you want to play in Toronto over any of the six teams he has on his list?
In the end, it’s an easy question to answer, Toronto simply does not supply Nash with sufficient opportunity to win a Stanley Cup.
Until the Maple Leafs can demonstrate the ability to both make the playoffs and win a round or two many free agents (or in Nash’s case a player who is forcing a trade) will take a pass on the Blue and White.
And that, my friends, is the cold, cruel, reality of it all.
Until next time,